Our Telescopes

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 over 16 million images for tens of thousands of users, including professional astronomers, students of all ages — graduate through elementary school — and the public.

You can view some of our telescopes live here (if daytime).  You can see what Skynet is doing right now here. You can see some of the best images taken by our telescopes here and here.

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, some of which have been upgraded to 24-inch diameter telescopes, a 32-inch diameter telescope that we built in 2012 in partnership with Astro Optik, and a 24-inch diameter telescope that we built in 2013 in partnership with NARIT.  UNC has 90% access to PROMPT C1 – C6, 40% access to PROMPT-C7, and 10% access to PROMPT-C8.

Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory is one of the best observatories on Earth!  Explore it using our pannable, zoomable webcam (if daytime, or if nighttime and the moon is up).

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.



PROMPT-Meckering, Australia

PROMPT-Meckering consists of a 16-inch diameter telescope that we are building in partnership with the Australian Space Academy on the other side of Australia.  UNC has 90% access to PROMPT-Meckering.





PROMPT-Athabasca, Canada

PROMPT-Athabasca consists of a 16-inch diameter telescope that we are building in partnership with the Athabasca University at an auroral-monitoring site in Canada.  UNC has 70% access to PROMPT-Athabasca.




Radio Telescope, Green Bank Observatory, West Virginia

In partnership with the Green Bank 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!





Morehead Telescope, Morehead Observatory, North Carolina

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.