PANOPTES (Panoptic Astronomical Networked Observatories for a Public Transiting Exoplanets Survey) is a citizen science project which aims to build low cost, robotic telescopes which can be used to detect transiting exoplanets.Get started today!
Due to the simplicity and low cost (an individual PANOPTES unit is targeted to cost about $5000 USD), a PANOPTES "unit" can be reproduced quickly and easily by students or amateur scientists. In this way, many units can be deployed at many different sites to provide continuous and redundant sky coverage. PANOPTES is designed from the ground up to be a citizen science project which will involve the public in all aspects of the science, from data acquisition to data reduction.
The philosophy behind the PANOPTES hardware and software design is to use as many commercial off the shelf (COTS) parts as possible as these are generally inexpensive and easily acquired. In addition, the PANOPTES design is kept as simple as possible as this makes the build process easier and means that the final product is more reliable.
The PANOPTES community spans the world, from the founding members in Hawaii to designers, builders and scientists in Europe, Australia, and North and South America. We're looking forward to our members in Africa and Asia! We use a variety of means to communicate, including a Google Group for announcements and a forum for discussions.
PANOPTES is also a platform. We encourage other groups to come up with projects which use PANOPTES data, hardware or software to address other scientific questions. For example, The Huntsman Telephoto Array is a project that is using the PANOPTES software to automate their observations.