|Project of implantation in Chile of a remote control telescope|
1. Aim of the project
The association 2SPOT (Southern Spectroscopic Observatory Team) is composed
of 5 passionate amateur astronomers who have for project to install in Chile a
a telescope controlled from France via the Internet. This telescope will allow
to realize spectroscopic measurements of various celestial objects, such as stars
stars, nebulae, galaxies or comets.
The goal of this project is scientific. The observations made will allow
to feed in data various professional programs of research in
|2. What is spectroscopy?|
Spectroscopy consists in breaking down the light emitted by a light source in order to
light source in order to analyze it. The rainbow is another example of spectroscopic effect: the light
emitted by the sun passes through the drops of water suspended in the atmosphere
the atmosphere to decompose into several colors.
Spectroscopy is a key discipline in astrophysics and allows to bring
a remarkably rich amount of information about the objects studied. The
spectra provide information on the temperature, mass and rotation speed of stars,
allow the detection of exoplanets (Nobel Prize in Physics 2019), to
calculate the distance of galaxies, define the chemical composition and physical conditions
physical conditions of the interstellar medium (temperature, pressure,
Most of the observations in astrophysics are made by spectroscopy.
|3. 2SPOT : an asset for astrophysics research|
The largest professional telescopes are installed in countries that offer exceptional
quality of the night sky, i.e. without light pollution and with a very dry
pollution and with a very dry climate, as well as a large number of nights
nights per year (no clouds or wind...).
Most of the research organizations have settled in Chile, in the Atacama desert
Atacama desert, which has an arid climate and more than 300 nights of sunshine
per year. The Europeans have installed the VLT (Very Large Telescope) there, which consists of a
4 telescopes of 8.2 m in diameter. It is also planned
to implant the future E-ELT (European Extremely Large Telescope) of 39 m of
These telescopes at the cutting edge of technology, allow access to celestial objects
celestial objects of very low luminosity. But the budgets required for these priority projects
projects are colossal. The realization of such observatories is done at the expense of
to the detriment of the functioning of smaller professional structures.
Many astrophysicists find it difficult to launch measurement campaigns on
on non-priority objects. The call to the amateurs constitutes sometimes an interesting
interesting alternative for professionals. Our association 2SPOT has been
partly created to answer this need.
|4. Collaboration between professionals and amateurs|
For more than ten years, amateur astronomers have had access to optical and electronic equipment
optical and electronic equipment with a high scientific potential,
similar to that used in professional observatories. Many
collaboration programs between professionals and amateurs have been created in France.
The number of professional telescopes is limited, their observation program is often
is often complete and difficult to modify. Spectroscopic observations
observations do not necessarily require the use of telescopes of very large diameter (several meters)
diameter (several meters) inaccessible to amateurs. Many
observations can be made with modestly sized instruments.
The strength of amateurs lies in their number and in their ability to react
to follow spontaneous celestial phenomena (explosion of a star,
appearance of a comet...).
The 2SPOT association was created in this dynamic. Its members already participate
in several research programs in astrophysics and develop links with professionals
develop links with professionals who are sensitive to the sharing of their knowledge.
|5. 2SPOT's observation programs|
The project is focused on 2 observation programs that have the same
The first program is related to the spectroscopic follow-up of particular stars
which eject part of their mass in their close environment. These
stars are very diversified, their particularity is often linked to very violent and sometimes
and sometimes poorly understood physical mechanisms (see Figures 4 and 5). They can be
stars exchanging matter with a close companion, stars
with a high rotation speed, eruptive stars at the end of their life,
supernovae (explosion of a massive star)... These phenomena can be cyclical or completely random.
cyclic or completely random.
The members of our association already collaborate with professional observatories
such as the Paris/Meudon observatory. Several databases have been
databases have been created (BeSS, ARAS) in which thousands of amateur spectra
amateur spectra are available to professionals.
The second observing program is related to the search and the spectroscopic confirmation of
spectroscopic confirmation of planetary nebulae. A planetary nebula
is a star at the end of its life of low mass (such as the sun) whose envelope is
the envelope is progressively diluted in the interstellar medium to enrich it
in heavy elements (see Figures 6 and 7). The number of known planetary nebulae
known is surprisingly low, about a hundred times less than what is predicted by
predicted by the theory. The search for new planetary nebulae is a major issue in astrophysics.
major issue in astrophysics.
2SPOT members are actively involved in this research program and have made several
are authors of several discoveries. The collected data are
mainly transmitted to the Astronomical Observatory of Strasbourg and to the
physics department of the University of Hong-Kong.
|6. Establishment in the southern hemisphere|
The observable celestial objects from one hemisphere to another are not identical.
A large majority of amateur spectroscopic observations is made from the Northern Hemisphere
from the Northern hemisphere because it has a large amateur population.
population. This is not the case in the Southern Hemisphere where the potential of observations
accessible with modest size instruments is however very high.
The implementation of a spectroscope in the southern hemisphere constitutes the heart of the
project. The installation of such equipment in the southern hemisphere that can be remotely controlled
is unprecedented in the amateur community.
The choice of the location was naturally turned towards Chile for its exceptional night sky and its
for its exceptional night sky and for its favourable climate for quality observations.
quality observations. The establishment of professional observatories in Chile has led to the development of
development of private structures which offer to amateurs the possibility
to install their equipment near the Atacama desert.
This is the case of the company Deep Sky Chile selected by 2SPOT. The infrastructure
of Deep Sky Chile are composed of 2 observatories with opening roofs which can
that can accommodate a dozen telescopes each.