above the clouds in Paradise for Astronomers
at Puntagorda on La Palma

Remote astronomy on La Palma
at the Roque de los Muchachos
at 1400 m altitude

Astronomy is a wonderful science
The idea of ​​visualizing things that are hidden for the most and that took place thousands, millions or even billions of years ago is particularly fascinating. We see the light of stars, that are suns, which essentially consist of hydrogen, helium and carbon. We see foggy structures whose light is either emitted or reflected by other objects. We see galaxies, ie accumulations of suns rotating around a common center. You can look at these things and feel joy.
Sometimes we hear then: "You have already seen dozens of times, as did happen nothing new". We then show the Orion Nebula with its star-forming regions or planetary nebula whose traces "blow away in the wind" .
The variety and beauty of these objects never gets boring, like the waves of the sea or the flames of a log fire.
You can also hunt for ever finer structures, you can analyze the light with different methods and will be amazed to discover that the cosmos is a huge chemistry and physics laboratory. You do not conduct any experiments yourself, but choose one of the billions of experiments initiated by nature. If one then realizes that the earth, the plants, the animals and we humans consist of chemical elements and realizes that they took their starting point in the Big Bang, that the originally solely existing hydrogen at the origin and death of the stars is the source of all higher elements is, the boundaries between exact science, philosophy and religion become fluid. You begin to understand where we come from and where we are going. One begins to understand that everything around us has the same origin, so it is not alien, and that our personal trespass is not the end but the continuation of the great plan of nature.

Problems in Northern and Central Europe

Changeable weather
With the exception of radio astronomy, our observations are possible only in clear skies. Therefore, we are severely limited by the frequent cloud cover in Western, Central and Northern Europe. Even a sky that seems clear to the average viewer is often traversed by fine clouds that reflect the scattered light back from the earth. In many areas observations are only possible in less than 50 nights per year. Even then, there are limitations due to relatively high humidity and dust in the air of urban areas.
Another problem is the air turbulence caused by heated buildings or climatic air turbulence in higher air layers.
Light pollution in urban areas
The observatories of antiquity and modern times were located in the larger cities until the spread of artificial light sources in the early 20th century. The light of the street lamps, of windows of large house facades, of neon signs and, worst of all, of sky beamers is broken up in the atmosphere by the finest droplets of water and causes a light smog that outshines the weak celestial objects. That's why astronomers are exploring rural areas and now mostly higher mountains. The most famous temples of modern astronomy are located in the most isolated areas of Chile, Hawaii, Australia, the Canary Islands, southern Spain and the USA.
The Canary Island of La Palma hosts on the Roque de los Muchachos one of the largest telescopes in the world and a variety of other instruments from institutes around the world.
Benefited by the dry climate and strict legislation with no-fly zones and restrictions for artificial light, top results are possible despite a good civilizational infrastructure.
Deep Sky Astrophotography
If you look at these objects for the first time through a telescope, you are almost always disappointed. The images on the Internet, in magazines and books show magnificent mostly colored views. However, you often only see pale, misty spots. This quickly creates the desire for a larger telescope, which supposedly brings the solution. Especially in inhabited areas with artificial light and in Central Europe with its many cloudy nights, this remains a difficult dream to fulfill. The situation is different with the photography of these cosmic objects. This can be successfully achieved with modern digital cameras, special filters and software applications. In this way, many amateur astronomers find an interesting activity even in the cities. However, when it comes to the observation of galaxies and other very faint or very small objects, nearby dark areas must be visited.
Limits of mobile astronomy
In the urban areas of Central Europe, it is difficult to find a sufficiently dark location. Many astronomers therefore drive their equipment to better locations. There, the equipment must then be set up and adjusted. This usually requires 30 to 60 minutes in addition to the driving time. If you are unlucky, then draw on clouds and the effort was free. For working people and astronomers with physical limitations, this variant is rather unsuitable.

The solution - remote astronomy in top locations

If you think of the well-known images of astronomers who looked through the eyepiece of their telescope and documented the observation results with a pen, it may seem strange to place your telescope thousands of kilometers away. Even the first scientists at the 5-meter telescope on Mount Wilson sat in Arctic suits in a small cabin in the primary focus of the telescope. That has changed fundamentally. The photographic techniques, and even more so the digital sensors, enable astronomers to work in a warm control room. The modern passionate astrophotographer also benefits from this technical progress and exposes himself only very consciously of the cold and the wind because of the direct experience of nature. However, these are actually two hobbies, but often paired - love of nature and astronomy. Still, there is nothing wrong with using astrophotography remotely in a perfect location and enjoying nature in a different location.
The separation from the place of residence and observation is only possible if the telescope is mounted on a motorized tripod, which can position the telescope on an object and can hold in the field despite earth rotation. The recording camera then collects the light of the objects with exposure times between milliseconds to hours. The result is then read out by a computer system and stored for further processing. This computer is usually located near the telescope and is connected to the Internet. If you use a remote control software such as TeamViewer, you can operate from any Internet-connected location in the world from the telescope PC, as well as sitting in the immediate vicinity. The movements of the telescope are observed with a web camera to avoid damage in the event of a fault. If you have encoders on the mount axes or if you use astrometric software, you can position the objects exactly in seconds. Specialized recording software controls the camera and takes care of the desired recordings or shooting series. Even filter changes are possible in this way from a distance. The roofs of the observatories, whether it is a dome gap or a roll roof, can also be controlled remotely today. Using automation tools such as ACP, CCD autopilot or SGP, all these functions can be coordinated with each other in the correct order without the observer having to intervene. Its activity is then limited to the evaluation of the results. Every remote astronomer should be familiar with Murphy's principle. Every risk of faults and risks must be carefully analyzed and, if possible, minimized in advance by means of multiple safeguards. Last but not least, this includes a weather station that shows us a gathering storm and possibly even automatically closes the roof or refuses to open it. Nevertheless, we must be aware that human intervention on the ground may become necessary. For this reason, we have asked technically minded people on the ground to help in case of emergency. At least twice a year, it seems to me unavoidable to visit the facility for maintenance purposes.
Together it's better
It is of great advantage if several observers can share the tasks. This reduces the travel costs for maintenance and the costs of the infrastructure.
Further information

Canary Island La Palma> West Coast> Puntagorda> Altitude 1.400 m

Our property is located at 1,400 m altitude on the western slope of the Roque de los Muchachos surrounded by vineyards above the village Puntagorda. It is accessed by electricity, water and a paved road used exclusively by wine growers and nature lovers. The bush vegetation and the favorable location allow us horizon view from south to west to north. On the east side of the sky is hidden to a height of about 20 ° from the mountain. The 2,400 m high mountain protects our observatory as well as the professional astronomers from the Passat clouds and gives us about 250 clear nights a year. The humidity is usually below 60%. If one is not accustomed to this quality of the sky, the sight of the Milky Way and the multitude of stars beyond the 5mag limit will take your breath away. For a while, it is difficult to spot the constellations because their landmarks are lost in a sea of ​​weaker stars. Looking at the ground, one is initially surprised that he is visible even in moonless summer nights - illuminated by the Milky Way.

Open Street Maps

Horizon Photos

Theodolite Photos

All around from east to south, west, north with angles of all height restrictions

Measurement of sky brightness

Unihedron SQM-LE geared to the zenith

in the evening with Milky Way

in the morning without Milky Way

Who are we


Uwe TrulsonI am a hobby astronomer, born in 1958 and live in Thuringia. My grandfather and father have sparked interest in watching the sky. At that time we observed in our garden with a Zeiss binoculars 8x30 and with self-made telescopes made of cardboard sleeves, spectacle lenses and eyepieces of the GDR optical construction kit. During the holidays an incredibly nice physics teacher gave me the school refractor of CARL ZEISS Jena 80/1200 mm. (Thank you Mr. Püschel!) The first astrophotos were created with a PENTI in eyepiece projection. After a long break due to family and work, the solar eclipse in 1999 was the occasion to revive the hobby. My medical studies was for me a profound experience of the natural sciences. Therefore, from the beginning it was my wish to combine hobby astronomy with research. After several years of searching, I decided to use deep-sky objects with digital sensors. One focus is on long exposure of galaxies. It is difficult to reach my goals in Central Europe. This and the technological advances of the last 10 years have been the reason for the interest in remote astronomy.

Areas of interest

> Wikipedia.de dwarf galaxies "> dwarf galaxies

deserve our special interest because they are much more common than the large spiral and elliptical galaxies. They thus contribute significantly to the overall mass of the universe, but are still largely undetected. They are difficult to detect because they have low luminosity and are in an apparent field of view of up to 4 ° x 4 ° around the large galaxies. The large-scale professional telescopes with their small visual fields are unable to systematically search for such galaxies, as the long observation times required are rarely taken into account in the crowded observation programs. Here is a chance for amateur astronomers to do scientific work. With a total exposure time of 10-50 hours, there is a real chance to image galaxies with very low surface brightness. It then remains up to the professional partners to confirm by measuring the radial velocity the character of a dwarf companion of large galaxies. Among other things, the TBG group of the Sternfreunde eV association has taken on this task. The ideal telescope for these examinations has a large aperture and a fast aperture ratio. Most friends use refractors or reflecting telescopes of 100 mm to 500 mm aperture with aperture ratios of f / 2 to f / 8. I am the happy owner of a Cassegrain telescope with an Astrosital mirror by LOMO. It has an aperture of 40 cm and an aperture ratio of f / 3 in the primary focus. With the FLI ML 16803 I achieve a field of view (FOV) of 110 arcmin x 110 arcmin and a magnification of 1.65 arcsec / px. With the ZWO ASI 128 MC refrigerated color camera, the FOV is 110 arcmin x 73 arcmin and the magnification is 1.1 arcsec / px.

> Wikipedia.de Catalog of ARP galaxies "> ARP galaxies
> Wikipedia.de star stream "> star streams
> Wikipedia.de Supernova Remains "> Supernova Remains
The Spiral galaxy M 101 we see from above. In their environment, a number of dwarf galaxies has been demonstrated. Some of them are visible on my 13-hour recording. The exposure was established at 40 cm Cassegrain f/3 with the FLI 16803 (1.65 arcsec/px) without a filter on the roof observatory in Eisenach.
The Cirrus Nebula is a supernova remnant in the constellation Cygnus.At the center of this beautiful structure is NGC 6979 called Pickering's Triangle.. The exposure was formed on Hyper Graph 35 cm f/9 with the FLI 16803 (0.65 arcsec/px) and Astrodon 3 nm narrow band filters Ha, [OIII] and [SII]. Each channel was exposed 10x 60 minutes at the roof observatory in Eisenach.

Scientific and technical advice

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Angaben gemäß § 5 TMG Uwe Trulson Ernst-Böckel-Straße 12 99817 Eisenach Vertreten durch: Uwe Trulson Kontakt: Telefon: +49 3691-214986 Fax: +49 3691-214985 E-Mail: uwe.trulson@patecas.eu Verantwortlich für den Inhalt nach § 55 Abs. 2 RStV: Uwe Trulson Ernst-Böckel-Straße 12 99817 Eisenach Impressum vom Impressum Generator der Kanzlei Hasselbach, Bonn
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