OpenTel - An Open Network for Robotic Telescopes
Global networks of robotic telescopes provide important advantages
over single telescopes. Independent of daytime and weather, they can
more efficiently perform multiwavelength observations and continuous long-term monitoring, as well as react rapidly to
transient events such as GRBs and supernovas. Some networks already exist or are about to be
built. Certainly, the larger the network, the more efficient.
Unfortunately, building these networks is expensive and resources are
limited. However, with the number of currently existing robotic telescopes a very powerful network could already be built.
This is the idea of OpenTel. OpenTel provides the means for interconnecting single robotic telescopes to a global network for sharing observation time, observation programs and data. OpenTel is an open network. Open means open standards, open source and open for telescopes to join.
ArchitectureGrid technology provides an ideal framework. It provides solutions for the management of Virtual Organizations, grid resources, computational jobs and observation, data and metadata. In addition, it allows the immediate access to computational and storage resources for data analysis.
OpenTel aims at common interfaces for monitoring, scheduling and data exchange. These design goals are provided by grid architecture as illustrated in Fig. 1 below. Metadata related to telescopes and observations is stored in the central information service Stellaris. This information is then used for selecting the best telescopes when scheduling new observations. The architecture is built on two technologies: the grid middleware of the Globus Toolkit and the Remote Telescope Markup Language (RTML) for the exchange of observation requests.
Fig. 1: Grid architecture of the robotic telescope network. Telescope servers, scheduler and the information service Stellaris are the main components. The management of observation requests is done through the Globus Toolkit and using RTML. Metadata is submitted in RDF to Stellaris and retrieved using the SPARQL query language.
Robotic Telescopes of the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam (AIP)With five robotic telescopes the AIP provides the first hardware to OpenTel. The five telescopes are RoboTel, STELLA-I and II, Wolfgang and Amadeus.
- RoboTel is located at the AIP. It is a 0.8 m telescope equipped with a CCD camera for imaging and photometry. Besides its science core-program, half of the observation time is reserved for schools and universities. The remaining observation time is dedicated to testing of new instruments, software and methods for the STELLA-I and II telescopes.
The STELLA robotic observatory is located at the Teide observatory in Tenerife, Spain. It consists of two 1.2 m telescopes, STELLA-I and STELLA-II. STELLA-I is equipped with a spectrograph and has been operating since May 2006. STELLA-II will be equipped with an imaging photometer. It will be commissioned on the end of 2007. Scientific objectives are: Doppler imaging, the search for extrasolar planets, spectroscopic surveys and support observations for simultaneous observations with larger facilities.
- Wolfgang and Amadeus are located at the Fairborn Observatory in Arizona. They are two 0.75 m telescopes equipped with photomultipliers for photometry. The scientific objectives are the participation in multi-site observing campaigns and studies of variability timescales and life times of starspots, requiring monitoring of stars over periods of years.
||Providing Static Metadata of Robotic Telescopes to Stellaris||2007-05-15|
||Providing Dynamic Metadata of Robotic Telescopes to Stellaris||2008-04-29|
||First Integration of Robotic Telescopes||2007-08-31|
||A Broker for a Network of Robotic Telescopes||2008-05-02|
||A Scheduler for a Network of Robotic Telescopes||2008-08-08|
- Grid Package for a Robotic Telescope Network (ODP) (PDF) (Workshop Integration und Steuerung von verteilten Sensorsystemen, Potsdam, 20 October 2010)
Grid Integration of Robotic Telescopes (
Talk) and (Proceeding)
(Hot-wiring the Transient Universe: A Joint VOEvent & HTN Workshop, Tucson, 4-7 June 2007)
Providing Remote Access to Robotic Telescopes by Adopting Grid Technology,
(Proceedings of the German e-Science Conference 2007, Baden-Baden, 2-5 May)
Grid Integration of Robotic Telescopes
(Workshop on Scientific Instruments and Sensors on the Grid, ICTP Triest, 23-28 April 2007)
Contact PersonsWe are interested in extending our network. If you are interested to particitpate or have questions about the software please contact:
- Frank Breitling <fbreitling at aip.de>, http://www.aip.de/People/fbreitling/
Harry Enke <henke at aip.de>
- Thomas Granzer <tgranzer at aip.de>