What is The BAT?

The Big Amateur Telescope (aka The BAT) is a free, collaborative, online astrophotography group whose ultimate goal is to produce images which can be compared with Hubble's. Members from all over the world meet in dedicated channels on the astrobiscuit discord server, decide on a target, point their telescope at the target and share their data. Bat Members with regular telescopes are encouraged to gather as much data as possible to help reveal the faintest details. Bat Members with high quality telescopes are encouraged to try lucky imaging to help increase the BAT’s resolution. The members then share their data with the rest of the group so that anyone can process all the data and create an incredible image. The best images are shared on social media.

Simple Workflow
  • image one of our targets
  • upload the stack of you imaging session to the BAT
  • If you wish you can process data gathered from all our members

BAT meetings are held Every Tuesday 8pm (UK time) on the astrobiscuit discord server.  I chair the bat meeting, where me, the bat mods and the bat members work through workflows and best techniques, answer questions and receive suggestions… if you’re a member you can join in. If not you can catch each meeting on The Big Amateur Telescope YouTube channel.

Bat Results

In the three months that the BAT has been going the number of members has grown from a handful to over 300. In that time our workflow has improved, and our images have gotten better. Everyone is free to try and process the BAT data. Here is a small selection of Bat Members processing so far. Bear in mind that we are still shooting many of these targets. There is still a long way to go but already the results are great AND I’m really looking forward to the results of our first real ‘Lucky Imaging’ Target NGC891

Yes. If you have taken a picture of deep space you can join. Its free and as well as enjoying the rush of ‘kicking hubble’s arse’ 😉 you can benefit from help getting you telescope collimated and learning from other members the latest and best astrophotography techniques. See below for more info.

Here is a window into  the #bat target channel on discord. (Note this channel is usually only visible to BAT members). We currently have 6 targets. We have both Northern and Southern Hemisphere targets.  We also have Variable Nebula targets which are treated differently – I talk about Variable Nebula targets here.

Scroll up and down to reveal more BAT targets

Current BAT targets

 Additional Target Information explanation;

  • STATUS UPDATE: This section gives a brief update on where we are at with this target

  • CUT OFF DATE: This is when we plan to stop gathering data for this target.

  • UPLOAD: A link to the google drive where Bat members upload their stack.

  • DATA COLLECTED SO FAR: A link to the google drive where everyone’s data on this target can be downloaded for processing.

  • DATA WE NEED MORE OF: If we are short on data from a particular channel (say Ha data) or deep long exposure data to reveal the faintest bits then this is where we put in a request in the hopes that our members will be able to come to the rescue 😉.

  • FRAMING REFERENCE: This is the framing we would like for this particular target. Most members align their stacks to this reference frame before uploading their data. This makes processing much easier.

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When you click the link above you'll be taken to the astrobiscuit discord server. Once in the first thing you'll see is my welcome video... 

If you have taken a shot of deep space then the chances are you are good enough. Watch my welcome to the BAT video below to find out more... 

Am I good enough to join the BAT?
The BAT Exam

The BAT exam is really designed to prevent us being flooded with noobs who don't know anything about astrophotography. Below is a LIVE window showing the latesy BAT EXAM submissions. Hopefully it will dive you an idea of the kind of standard we're after. Most folks get through. You have to scroll Up a long way to find someone who didn't get in.

When you pass the BAT EXAM a whole host of hidden channels on the astrobiscuit server open up to you. Here are some of them...

  • #the bat meeting room: where you can ask fellow members questions and give advice,

  • #the variable nebula meeting room; where folks register their interest in shooting variable nebula

  • # the bat chat: where we host the weekly LIVE bat meetings and where you can vc fellow members r.

  • #test my scope: Submit a sub and we will tell you how sharp your scope is. When we know how sharp your optics are we will either encourage you to do regular long exposure imaging or if your optics are very sharp lucky imaging. Along the way our wonderful BAT Mods will help you with collimation and keep you up to date with all the comings and goings of the BAT.

  • #status update: this is where I get to tell you the latest news and remind you of upcoming BAT MEETINGS

  • #the bat results: A place for bat members to show off their latest processings of the bat data

Scroll up and down to reveal more BAT exam entries

You'll see that the BAT Mods have passed most folks...

Latest BAT Exam Submissions