What is The BAT?
The Big Amateur Telescope (aka The BAT) is a free, collaborative, online astrophotography group of amateurs who all point their telescope at the same target, shoot it and then share their data in order to obtain the best possible image. We shoot widefield (using lenses and star-trackers), regular astro-photos (using regular astro-gear) and high resolution astrophotography (using lucky imaging techniques and very sharp telescopes and low read noise cameras). In addition we are also constantly imaging Hubble's Variable Nebula - this is important work and we are eager to get more help AND we are just about to start a solar imaging - so we can grab the sun's most explosive moments. Members from all over the world meet in dedicated channels on the astrobiscuit discord server. As well as taking great images we hope you will find nerd mates from all over the world... and in a few years go visit them on your hols!
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 Astrobiscuit Discord Community YouTube channel.
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.
TARGET MANAGER: The BAT member who suggested the target and is responsible for it.
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.
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