On 25 March 2013 at 17:00 UTC, the first of 17 telescopes of the GLORIA (GLObal Robotic telescope Intelligent Array for e-Science) network was opened for free public access. This telescope, TAD (Telescopio Abierto Divulgación solar – “Open Solar Popularisation Telescope” is situated at Teide Observatory (Canaries Astrophysics Institute) in Tenerife and www.ot-tad.com on the Web. Very soon, the second telescope, TELMA (TELescopio MAlaga – “Málaga Telescope”) will scrutinize the night sky at the BOOTES-2 station (EELM-CSIC) in Algarrobo Costa (Málaga) (bootes.iaa.es).
GLORIA is a three-year project financed by the Seventh Framework Program of the European Union (FP7/2007-2012) under agreement number 283783 with a budget of 2.5 million euro. The project started in October of 2011 and was scheduled to open the network to the public halfway through the project. GLORIA is composed of 13 institutions from 8 countries with a total of 17 robotic telescopes on four continents: Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America. These will be made available to all via the Internet for tele-operation and image-acquisition.
One of GLORIA’s objectives is the incorporation of other robotic telescopes, public or private, belonging to individuals or institutions. Telescope time can be exchanged between telescopes around the world, allowing students to make observations during school hours.
A close collaboration has been established between GLORIA and the CESAR project (http://bit.ly/14oc6GN) to integrate four CESAR telescopes into the GLORIA network. These telescopes are intended for teaching purposes and are being deployed in Spain, through ESAC (the European Space Astronomy Centre).
GLORIA is a Citizen Science project which aims to take advantage of the collective intelligence of the Internet community. Right now, users can contribute to the calculation of solar activity by obtaining and analysing images of the solar surface (photosphere) with the TAD telescope.
In the immediate future, more astronomy experiments will be incorporated on topics such as the detection and/or characterisation of exo-planets, asteroids, and Near-Earth Objects. Users can collaborate in many other ways, such as:
Connecting new telescopes to the network. Telescope owners will be able to exchange time on their own instrument for time on other telescopes under different skies or with different capabilities.
Creating new experiments. We have created a web tool that permits users to create their own experiments using the GLORIA telescope network.
Popularising astronomy. Under GLORIA, we are organising activities to spark interest in Astronomy in the community, particularly in young people and children. When the opportunity arises to observe a significant astronomical event (such as a total eclipse of the Sun or Moon), we travel to the relevant part of the world and do an on-site live Internet broadcast (live.gloria-project.eu). Together with the broadcast, we organise educational activities, mostly directed at schools. All content is released under copyleft licences.
In the coming months, interesting news and events will be published on the GLORIA website. Follow us on our social networks, and on our website (gloria-project.eu) to keep informed on developments.