Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory’s MicroObservatory

If this is your first time dipping your toe into making astronomical observations the Smithsonian Astrophysical MicroObservatory is a great place to start. This is a network of robotic telescopes that are accessible by the Internet for the general public. The network consists of several three-foot tall robotic telescopes that have 6-inch mirrors to capture light and convert it to a 650 x 500 pixel image. They can be controlled by software on the website called “Control Telescope” which automatically tracks which objects are visible in the sky and indicates this to the observer. There is an excellent imaging editing and analysis tool with video tutorials and a guided tour of the software. Their mission is to enable the youth to explore the outer reaches of space and think bigger. They provide basic tools and skills to get you started in the field of astronomy.