• Hashtags:

    #outerspace, #roboticobservatory, #advanced


    [email protected]




    Amateur Astronomers and Do-It-Yourself (DIY) Engineers present a potentially powerful resource in the ongoing task of characterizing hazardous asteroids. Not only are they often highly skilled, they belong to networks across every time-zone that have the potential to provide a view of the entire sky - in particular the Southern Hemisphere, supporting the work of professional astronomers.

    The business of characterizing these very small and dark objects isn’t for the average citizen astronomer. The equipment and software skills required puts Asteroid Hunting out of reach of most amateurs.

    At the other end of the spectrum, educators are inspired by the potential of astronomy as a core narrative for lesson design. As well as Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) essentials, asteroid hunting introduces students to concepts such as image analysis and big data.

    A goal is to place a hi-end astronomy kit into the hands of hundreds of amateurs and schools across the globe. The project can use 3D printing, in-situ assembly and a mobile phone camera to radically reduce the cost of your very own asteroid hunting ARO (Automated Robotic Observatory).


    Develop software applications and scripts that make an open hardware robotic observatory a souped-up Asteroid Hunting Machine.

    To create a suite of scripts and imaginative software ideas. Some recommended projects could include:
    1. An ARO ‘Controller’ application for orientation/focus calibration and motor control around a target main belt Asteroid (e.g. Ceres).
      1. Auto-Focuser parameter configuration
      2. Integration with Minor Planet Center for astrometric data
      3. Configuration of scope physical properties, min/max motor positions, gear ratios, etc.
      4. Configuration of each motor speed.
      5. Process to set max and min motor position.
      6. Wireless 2 axis + focuser motor control via bluetooth and/or wifi
    2. Asteroid Hunting Alert
      1. Create a web-based app/notification system for any Telescope that has a cache of the next 48 hour observable celestial targets - specifically Asteroids - based on data from the Minor Planet Center and other resources. Your solution should factor your location’s observation opportunity and additional variations such as cloud cover and light pollution.
    3. Characterization: Cloud based Asteroid analysis.
      1. Develop micro-apps using python astronomy software stack (Astropy.org) in the cloud as backend: deliver bespoke astro-analysis (lightcurves and orbital analytics.) Think about how to take advantage of multiple open hardware robotic observatories pointing at the same target and how a community of amateurs could begin to capture photometric data of scientific quality.
    4. Augmented reality astroguiding
      1. Develop a fun to use App for beginners that uses basic augmented reality compositing from a Webcam to help semi-manual star-guiding (e.g. superimposing a target sky image with real time image of the telescope; users can roughly point the scope and then self steer via visual matching the superimposed star field). This could include an introductory astro-tour guide function that steers an open hardware robotic observatory to interesting observation targets with accompanying educational information.
    5. Open hardware robotic observatory Student control Application
      1. Create a smartphone or tablet application for schools that integrates open hardware robotic observatorycontrol (EQMOD and ASCOM Drivers) with a live stream from the web and enables remote control from any location. Add social features to enable groups of student Asteroid Hunters to communicate with each other, share images, tips, badges and tricks.


    The vision is to maximize existing technologies to weave together a completely open sourced platform. Your solution should be released under an open license and shared on GitHub.

    The ARO (Automated Robotic Observatory) is composed of different component groups; the chassis mechanics, the electronics, the optics and the associated software stack. The hardware and electronics are published as open hardware designs on the web. The chassis parts are composed of laser cut panels and 3D printed parts, with (for the moment) off-the-shelf stepper motors and mirrors.

    Hardware overview
    • Mount - is a split-ring equatorial mount telescope with two sets of reduction gear box mounted steppers steering the optical tube via GOTO software & associated Arduino and a stepper controller shield.
    • Tube Assembly - This is constructed out of 3D printed parts and aluminum u-profiles and incorporates a top assembly that joins an electronic focuser, a mobile phone mounting bracket, a light-baffle and space for additional compensating optics for the phone-camera.
    • Focuser - The electronic focuser in the tube assembly is stepper motor driven and is using the existing open source 'Jolo' focuser project & software driver design and provides our custom mechanics to use this software in the configuration where it is supporting mobile phones and other camera types.

    • The shield fuses the features of a mount controller and an e-focuser – both ASCOM compatible – into a single shield. This is mounted on top of an Arduino board which operates the both stepper motors and the e-focuser.
    • This combination runs a customized version of the open source AstroEQ mount control software and also the Jolo software; both of which are installed to run jointly on the same board interfacing with ASCOM via two separate USB connections.

    Imaging Camera
    • Can use a smart phone with a novel, larger scale than normal 41MP camera. The overall design is open enough for classic astro-cameras and DLSRs to be used on the telescope.
    • The smart phone allows streaming and broadcasting the image directly to an IP address for a shared real-time imaging experience.

    Sample Resources (Participants do not have to use these resources, and NASA in no way endorses any particular entity listed).

  • The following projects are solving this challenge:

    • Asteroid Hunting Alert

      A web application to display/alert all of the asteroids visible to a telescope in any given location for the next 48 hours. Visit Project

    • EQ MOUNT

      The home made Equatorial mount is basically built from the junk. Worm gears, tripod, camera mounts and few other components are pulled from the scrap yard. Mount has two axis tracking facility with a gear ratio of average 1:100 for Right ascension and 1:50 for declination. Software part is inspir... Visit Project

    • People against the threat of celestial bodies

      The idea is to have a set of telescopes at different places on earth that would be sending images to a server via the cloud so that people can get register on the server so they put the free time they have in their electronic devices ( including mobile devices) available to this project which wou... Visit Project



    • We are connected, we are safe: People against the threat of celestial bodies

      The idea is to have a set of telescopes at different places on earth that would be sending images to a server via the cloud so that people can get register on the server so they put the free time they have in their electronic devices ( including mobile devices) available to this project which wou... Visit Project

    • AsterHunter

      We aim to create an automated asteroid hunting and reporting using RaspberryPi, INDI drivers and a Cloud infrastructure. Users will be able to automatically scan a portion of the Celestial Sphere with his/her telescope, upload pictures and results, report abnormalities and inform other users thro... Visit Project


      to establish a permanent human settlement on other planets we need to collect informations about them, in this case SPY-Magnus can perform different missions in extreme conditions like : -Gain information about the environment -Work for an extended period without human intervention -Move eit... Visit Project

    • RBW 5

      The emotions and behaviour within human-body are simply communications between brain's neurons. These communications cause syncronized electrical pulses that produces BRAINWAVES. BRAINWAVES are measured by hertz. Recent researches found a way to transmit these waves from the brain to other device... Visit Project

    • Aq'anoq: El universo en tus manos

      The goal is that anyone, anywhere in the world, who is curious and doesn´t have access to the minimum hardware to explore the outer space, could do it through this app. We built an open platform to reach this kind of people. Hacking a destroyed telescope, we built our electronic and adapted it t... Visit Project

    • ObservatorioUSAC Aq'Anoq: El Universo En Tus Manos

      The goal is that anyone, with the desire to learn from outer space, can observe astronomical objects with this application. Aq'anoq is a word from maya k'ich'e translated into “above”. The observatory was called with this word because it is connected with our philosophy of “Astronomy and Science... Visit Project

    • Star Buddy (Spot me)

      It is a C-DAC Bangalore research lab initiative under rapid prototyping category. The developed technology was customized by the team to address the needs of Robotic Observatory Challenge Prototype developed: Hardware requirements: Arduino, 3 Servo motors, Astro laser Software require... Visit Project

    • ScopeNet

      ## *Intro* ScopeNet a low-cost hardware, firmware and online service allowing hobbyist astronomers worldwide to automate and share their telescopes online. Astronomical observations requested from users globally are optimally dispatched to the most appropriate telescope(s) worldwide. Imag... Visit Project

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    Robotic Observatory Hackpad: https://spaceapps2015.hackpad.com/kRtBXe2Z6BF