The University of Arizona

Sierra Stars Observatory Network (SSON)


Scheduled Observing:

Taking data through SSON services couldn't be easier.  After creating an account you visit the SSON website and request your observing time by filling out a webform. The SkyCenter telescopes (both the 32-inch Schulman and the 24-inch Beshore telescopes) run SSON observing plans when the telescope is free or on nights designated for this purpose. Your data is sent to you the following morning. Typical users of this mode of observing are scientists, serious amateur astronomers and school groups that wish to make astronomical measurements. In addition this data can be used to create captivating images of space for amateurs and educational programs that want to capture the imagination!

            Some Technical Details

                        - Exposures times are limited to 300 seconds and are unguided. The telescope  produces perfectly tracked images for this exposure time. The limit is imposed to maintain the efficiency of the automated observing routine. The images are also acquired with North being up.

                        - Data is acquired with the detector binned 2x2. This results in images that are more managable in size with the added benefit of increasing the effective sensitivity of the system.

                        - Once your observations are scheduled,  you pay only for successful images. You are not charged for poor data due to weather or equipment issues. The total time charged is calculated by "open shutter" time.

                        - Data arrives fully calibrated by the SSON automated processing. This means the data is ready to be measured or used without the tedium of going through standard processing steps.

                        - Frequently Asked Questions