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Franck Marchis (SETI Institute & Unistellar)

Citizen Science Astronomy with the Unistellar Network: From Planetary Defense to Exoplanet Transits

The Australia Telescope National Facility Colloquium
14:30-15:30 Tue 06 Aug 2019

Marsfield lecture theatre


Unistellar is reinventing popular astronomy with the Enhanced Vision Telescope: a combination of optics, electronics, and proprietary image-processing technology to make astronomy easy, fun and interactive. In partnership with the SETI Institute, the company will build the largest network of telescopes capable of observing the sky 24/7 from everywhere on this planet. Unistellar's Enhanced Vision Telescope is the first telescope that accumulates light so the user can finally see hundreds of faint astronomical objects in all their shapes and colors live through its lens. Because classical high end telescopes only allow the user to see the four main planets, this technology will radically transform amateur astronomy. Relying on its on-board computer, the telescope also recognizes the observed area and can guide and inform the user in real time.
Thanks to its sensitivity, the eVscope is a powerful tool capable of generating data that can be used by scientists to search for transient events like supernovae, near-earth asteroids, and comets. Because of the larger field of regard provided by a constellation of small, smart telescopes, our network could provide additional data to the few existing large telescopes. Unistellar initiated a partnership with the SETI Institute to identify and develop scientific applications for our network of telescopes. We will summarize the technology behind the telescope and its real-time data processing, then show several recent observations, including asteroid occultations, the transit of exoplanets why are accessible to the users. Finally, we will discuss Unistellar network's potential to make citizen astronomy a reality by offering all users (newbie or experienced) a tool to explore the night sky with a powerful and reliable instrument while they contribute to scientific investigations.


Shivani Bhandari

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