March 20, 2009

Palomar Observatory to Participate in Around the World in 80 Telescopes

by W. Scott Kardel, Public Affairs Coordinator, Palomar Observatory, California Institute of Technology

Click on image for the schedule and to participate

Palomar Observatory will participate in a live 24-hour webcast event that will take place from the control rooms of research telescopes located around the globe.

Most people have no idea what happens during the night at a research observatory. The expectation is that astronomers are looking through telescopes - a concept that is 100 years out of date. The Around the World in 80 Telescopes event webcast will take a 24-hour trip to observatories located across the globe and in space. Scheduled to participate are observatories in 15 countries: spanning every continent (including Antarctica), and 11 observatories located in space.

The final stop in this around-the-world tour of observatories will be Palomar Observatory, run by the California Institute of Technology. Astronomers using Palomar's 200-inch Hale Telescope will be on hand answering questions and explaining their research.

Palomar Observatory's participation in the event is only possible through its high-speed data connection provided by the High- Performance Wireless Research and Education Network (HPWREN). HPWREN provides 155 megabits per second (OC-3 capacity) terrestrial microwave links that network Palomar Observatory to the rest of the world. This high-speed connectivity is essential for current and future research programs at Palomar, but it also provides the necessary bandwidth to allow for this and other live broadcasts to take place from the observatory.

In honor of the 400th anniversary of Galileo first using his astronomical telescope, 2009 has been designated as the International Year of Astronomy. The 100 Hours of Astronomy event is a global star party that is a cornerstone event of this year-long celebration of astronomy.

The live webcast will begin on 3 April 2009 at 02:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time with the telescopes on Mauna Kea in Hawaii, before moving westwards around the planet. The event ends on 4 April 2009, 02:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time. Palomar Observatory's portion of the event is scheduled to begin at 1:40 a.m. on April 4th. The live video webcast will be available on the 100 Hours of Astronomy website at http://www.100hoursofastronomy.org/.

Image credit: Palomar Observatory

Main HPWREN web site (includes information for acknowledgments/disclaimers and feedback/contact)