to the International Space Station
In a few years, the Hubble will be joined
in space by a much smaller but very enthusiastic orbiting
observer. This junior space telescope will not receive its
commands from NASA or university scientists but from amateur
astronomers and students.
- The International Space Station Amateur Telescope project
is sponsored by the Astronomical
League, and other amateur astronomy organizations.
It seeks to install on the International Space
Station a small (~15") telescope that would be controlled
by amateur astronomers from the ground. The scope would be
placed on an external pallet in 2006.
The project has received strong encouragement
from NASA and Boeing, which see it as a great educational
project for the station. Boeing will build the scope and NASA
will pay for it.
The scope would not challenge Hubble's capabilities,
but with 0.2 arcsecond resolution the scope would produce
images of sharpness comparable to those from the largest ground-based
Jupiter images (at Sky & Telescope) between the
Hubble and the proposed amateur space telescope.
Access to the scope will go through a central
ground based control group run by amateur astronomers. Up
to half the observing time would be reserved for school kids
Planets, bright galaxies, and temporal phenomena
of high interests, such as comets and supernova, will be high