The University of North Carolina (UNC) has been building fully automated, or robotic, telescopes since 2004. They are under the control of Skynet, which is telescope control and scheduling software also developed at UNC. Recently, non-UNC telescopes have been joining Skynet as well. Altogether, Skynet has taken approaching 7 million images for tens of thousands of users, including professional astronomers, students of all ages — graduate through elementary school — and the public.
UNC has guaranteed time on the following Skynet telescopes, all of which are available to anyone taking our Astronomy with Skynet courses:
PROMPT C1 – C8, Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory, Chile
PROMPT-Chile consists of six 16-inch diameter telescopes that we built in 2004 and 2005, a 32-inch diameter telescope that we are building in partnership with Astro Optik, and a 24-inch diameter telescope that we are building in partnership with NARIT. UNC has 90% access to PROMPT C1 – C6, 40% access to PROMPT-C7, and 10% access to PROMPT-C8.
PROMPT A1 – A4, Siding Spring Observatory, Australia
PROMPT-Australia consists of four 17-inch diameter telescopes that we built in 2013. UNC has 90% access to PROMPT A1 – A4. In combination with PROMPT-Chile, we are able to observe objects nearly continuously as Earth rotates. We are also able to observe objects during the day from the western hemisphere.
In partnership with the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, we are refurbishing and integrating into Skynet this 20-meter diameter radio telescope. UNC has 30% access to this telescope. With it, we will observe the invisible universe!
We have refurbished and integrated into Skynet this 24-inch diameter telescope. UNC has 100% access to this telescope. Skynet is headquartered one floor below.