Some time ago I had a reminder of just how powerful the internet can be. I can log into a website, schedule one of a number of expensive astronomical telescopes to take a photo of whatever takes my fancy.
The telescope that took the image below is based on the top of a mountain in Tenerife. The Open University own and run the telescopes. The Open University started in the UK in the late 1960s with a vision for opening up access to higher education for all regardless of their academic background. I have access to the telescopes because I used to pay for access prior to the university taking over the website and telescopes. Now I get access and I don’t have to pay 😊. The telescopes are most commonly used as part of the Open University’s astronomy classes. Instead of just getting a lot of theory of astronomy, you get quite a lot of practical experience too. Best of all, some of the classes are free.
telescope.org is not the only internet enabled telescope. There are quite a few options especially if you are happy to pay. For instance, iTelescope has 18 telescopes in 5 observatories including Australia, Spain, Peru and USA. Plans start at a mere £14.95 per month.