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DIY Computer-Controlled Telescopes
Jamais Cascio, 23 Jul 05

We're big fans of participatory science around these parts, and one that has some interesting potential is collaborative astronomy. We've posted about what that might look like -- particularly with regards to comet/asteroid hunting -- but such efforts generally require that one's telescope be hooked to a computer and, from there, to the Internet. But such computer-operated 'scopes, while available, are expensive.

Make points us to a site explaining just how to turn any telescope into a motor-controlled, computer-operated, and potentially Internet-linked viewing system. As with most of Make's links, the instructions are not for the timid, but they certainly be accomplished by non-specialists.

Summertime in the northern hemisphere is terrific for amateur astronomy, and Mars will once again this year be very bright due to proximity. Even a smallish telescope should be able to resolve the ice caps and color variations. And, I have to say, even the best close-up images of planets from probes don't bring the visceral excitement of seeing things like Martian ice caps, Jupiter's big moons and Saturn's rings with one's own eye.

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