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Saturday, August 4, 2007

Marcia Room at the Lodge, Cloudcroft, New Mexico

Website www.GalileosLegacy.org



Just over 18 years ago, the first Remote Access Automatic Telescopes (RAAT) conference was held in Tucson (March 16-19, 1989). Russ Genet (Fairborn Observatory) organized the conference which was chaired by Dave Crawford (Kitt Peak National Observatory). The conference was sponsored by the Fairborn Observatory, the Smithsonian Institution, and the IAPPP. Not long before the conference, an automatic telescope had received instructions over the Internet, run automatically all night, and sent the results to the requestor following morning—an unattended, remote-access procedure that soon became routine.

Russ Genet and David Rowe, the RAAT II conference organizers, thought it would be worthwhile to revisit this topic. The Lodge at Cloudcroft was chosen as the venue not only for its cool summer clime, beauty, and historic charm, but because the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico have become a world center for remote access automatic telescopes of modest aperture. The conference began at 9 AM, broke for a leisurely lunch, continued during the afternoon, and then adjourned for a Dutch-treat social hour and dinner. Talks and discussions were informal.  All subjects dealing with remote access telescopes, imaging, science and/or educational programs were encouraged, as were talks on non-automated observatories and all other astronomical topics of general interest.  

Russ / russmgenet@aol.com / (805) 438-3305                   Dave / dave@starryridge.com  / (310) 488-4983


The RAAT conferees pose in front of the historic Cloudcroft Lodge.  The Cloudcroft area, besides being home to several major research observatories, is a hotbed of smaller observatories, many of them operated via the Internet from remote locations.


The RAAT conference covered many of the practical problems that need to be solved
to successfully build, operate, and maintain a robotic, remotely accessed observatory.  Besides such problems as scheduling observations and Internet security, there are problems peculiar to operation in the mountains at high elevations,
such as frequent lightning strikes.

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