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Observing Report Template for PHYS 183

2022 Winter


Student #:



Please give three designations (or names) of the target observed (i.e. M 101, HIP 101856, The

Orion Nebula, etc…). Objects are often included in many catalogs which means that for the same object you will have many different names. For solar system objects please use historical names from different cultures:


Insert your RGB COLOR processed image (you need to combine 3 images to produce this):


The following questions may require Stellarium and reading the image header. In which

constellation does the target lie? In what part of the sky was the object when it was observed

(i.e. North, West, East, South, etc…)? Give the coordinates of the target in RA, DEC and

ALT, AZ at the telescope location at the time of the observation.

The following questions are “long-form” and your answers are expected to be complete paragraphs on a separate page. The paragraphs should show an understanding of the topic beyond simply stating a list of facts.

Question 1:

In 300-500 words, please explain the relevance of this object to the PHYS 183 course material and its importance to astronomy. (Some question you may seek to answer are: What beyond the object itself is learned by studying this class of objects? What sorts of telescopes and observations would be needed for more detailed, broader reaching studies of this source and objects of its nature?)

Question 2:

In 300-500 words, compare and contrast the specific object to at least 2 other objects in its source class (e.g. if it’s an isolated star, to different types of isolated stars). Explain both observational and physical differences, as well as what the comparison teaches us about the source class in general.

Remote Observing Project
Matthew Lundy
PHYS 183
[email protected]

Remote Observing | PHYS 183 | Matthew Lundy 2

The MicroObservatory

The MicroObservatory is a network of
remote small telescopes that can be
controlled by the public over the Internet.
Developed by the Smithsonian Center of
Astrophysics the networks is currently in
place at Harvard College Observatory
and the Whipple Observatory in Amado,
AZ. You will be using this
observatory to produce an
astronomical image of an
interesting source. You will also be
asked to write a report on this
chosen source.

Remote Observing | PHYS 183 | Matthew Lundy 3


To analyze the images and obtain
the information necessary to write
the report you will need a modern
browser on a PC/Mac. Using a
mobile device may provide issues
when it comes to the analysis. If
you do not have access to such a
device, then please send an email
to [email protected]!

Remote Observing | PHYS 183 | Matthew Lundy 3

Requesting an Image


Remote Observing | PHYS 183 | Matthew Lundy 4

Analyzing an Image

Remote Observing | PHYS 183 | Matthew Lundy 5

MicroObservatory Possibilities

Remote Observing | PHYS 183 | Matthew Lundy 6

Additional Source Info

Remote Observing | PHYS 183 | Matthew Lundy 7

Common Issues

Help my image is all white!

Help my image is all black!

Help my image is all random

stars and no source!

Help my image is blurry!

Remote Observing | PHYS 183 | Matthew Lundy 8

Report Structure

3-5 short answer questions about
the nature of the source and the

2 long answer questions about the
source and the course (~400 word)

Remote Observing | PHYS 183 | Matthew Lundy

Contact: [email protected]


Observing Report Project
PHYS 183 -WINTER 2022

We will be using the MicroObservatory
(https://mo-www.cfa.harvard.edu/OWN/index.html) in
order to complete a remote observing session. TheMicroObservatory is a
network of remote small telescopes that can be controlled by the public over
the Internet. Developed by the Smithsonian Center of Astrophysics, the
network is currently in place in the
Harvard College Observatory in
Cambridge, MA and the Whipple
Observatory in Amado, AZ.

You will be required to use this
telescope to generate a colour
image of an astronomical object of
your choice and submit an
observing report based on this

You will be marked along four axes.
* Whether your image processed
* Whether you filled out the technical
information in the observing report
* The quality and correctness of your
response to the first long answer question.
* The quality and correctness of your
response to the second long answer

Please submit the observing report as a PDF on
MyCourses under the “Assignments” tab. Please also
submit your raw images (.FITS) as well.

A template of the observing report is also provided under the “Content” tab of
MyCourses. Any questions can be forwarded to [email protected]

To properly use this telescope, tutorial videos will be added to MyCourses. You
will need to perform colour image processing. Software to do this is all
provided online via the MicroObservatory.

Plagiarism is completely unacceptable. All work must be cited properly in
MLA or another equivalent format. Even things we learned in class should be

properly referenced. Please see the McGill policy here:
Copying from classmates who selected the same source is also not allowed.
This is an individual project.
Your image may take 1-3 nights to be processed by the telescope request
system. This means that you should submit a request as soon as possible and
not leave it to the last minute! Submitting a request should take no longer
than 10 minutes. The processing of the image should also take no more than
45 minutes. Your image will arrive in your mailbox around ~1pm in the
afternoon. Once you have completed your image your job is not over! You
must still fill out an observing report. You will also still need the Stellarium
software package to answer 1-2 of the questions. A tutorial for Stellarium is
provided on MyCourses under the “Content” tab.

If you find that your computer is unable to use any of the software please
contact [email protected] as soon as possible to find a working

Sometimes the telescope takes images that are not able to be
properly processed. If you have issues related to this please post them on
the MyCourses discussions page! This will help us resolve many people’s issue
at the same time.

There are some objects that do not produce good pictures and, if there is a
pointing error, are very difficult to debug. If you select one of these sources,
the assignment will be more challenging and less rewarding so it is best to
avoid them. These are:

? Milky Way
? Sagittarius A
? Cyg X-1
? CQ Cep
? Eight-Burst Nebula
? SS Cygni
? 3c 273
? NGC 2543