Preethi Krishnamoorthy
Preethi Krishnamoorthy

Wednesday 22nd June, 2022

Talks & Workshops

Preethi Krishnamoorthy – Project PANOPTES: A student-led worldwide network of robotic telescopes to discover exoplanets


PANOPTES helps students and citizen scientists build and operate a worldwide network of low-cost robotic telescopes that survey the night sky for transiting exoplanets. The PANOPTES units consist of medium telephoto lenses on entry-level DSLRs that provide a widefield coverage of the sky. The network of PANOPTES units allows for a continuous survey of the night sky to detect transiting exoplanets around relatively bright and nearby stars. PANOPTES is an open-source project in all respects, from the hardware build, the software used to control the unit remotely, the pipeline software used to process the raw data, to the raw data and the final data products in the form of light curves. Once built and deployed, a PANOPTES unit is automated to run every clear night, collect and transfer data to cloud storage for automatic processing of the raw data, park itself before daylight, and repeat the process every night. The data from all PANOPTES units across the network can then be combined for increased sensitivity and coverage.

The PANOPTES community currently spans the world, from the founding members in Hawai’i to designers, builders, and scientists in Europe, Australia, North and South America, and Asia. There are currently 26 PANOPTES units in various stages of deployment/operation across the world. Being a multifaceted project in terms of requiring a wide range of skillsets, such as building hardware, software to control the unit, data analysis, follow up science study and as an educational tool for schools, the project benefits from having diverse community participation. In this talk, we will give an overview of the project, its reach so far, latest developments, student experiences and opportunities, with a focus on collaborations with schools, how to access the PANOPTES raw data and data products, and how you can also play a role in finding new transiting exoplanets.

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