Where is it looking?

Have you ever wondered where professional telescopes are looking? I do, but perhaps that is just because I can see one from my window. Anyway, in an attempt to find something useful - or at least not utterly pointless - to do with twitter, I have created a small script which updates twitter with the observing targets of several of the telescopes connected with Jodrell Bank. My script isn't perfect and, for now at least, mostly tells you the rough Right Ascension and Declination of the object being observed. However, if the position matches something in a basic lookup table, it will display the object name. Currently, if my script can't work out the object, it just displays "space". I'm not happy with that solution. Suggestions are welcome.

What is quite cool (for sad people like me) is to use Twittermap to see the updates displayed on a Google Map (e.g. search for "Cambridge, UK" on Twittermap to see the current target for the Cambridge 32m telescope). Today the MERLIN telescopes, tomorrow the world! Mwahahaha. What would be even cooler is if there was a Google Universe that could be overlaid with labels for where professional telescopes are looking in 'real time'.

Posted in astro blog by Stuart on Wednesday 09th May 2007 (21:25 BST) | 19 Comments | Permalink
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