Alt-Az Initiative


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Telescopes from Afar
An international conference
on remotely operated, automated,
or ground based telescopes

Waikaloa Beach Marriott
North of Kona, Big Island of Hawai'i
February 28-March 3, 2011

Schedule & Events
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Program &  Local

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Conference completed  Venue, Travel, and Lodging
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Maunakea Observatories

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Wrap-up coming soon
Canada France Hawaii Telescope
Conference Website - Click here

Sarah Gajardhar, Canada France Hawaii Telescope 
Russell Genet, California Polytechnic State University
Josh Walawender, University of Hawaii

Fully robotic observatories have been in continuous operation for a quarter century. Although initially confined to smaller telescopes, many large observatories are now being operated remotely and even autonomously without staff on-site.

The goal of this conference is to provide an opportunity to share information on the advancements and developments in the areas of remote observing, remote operation, and automated local and global networking of all sizes of observatories. The conference will explore management, operational, and engineering considerations. Participants will exchange ideas and experiences with designing and operating robotic observatories and retrofitting existing observatories for remote and autonomous operations.

The topics for the sessions will be influenced by the abstracts that are submitted; however, we envision the subjects may include:

  • History and overview
  • Economics and motivation
  • Examples of robotic observatories
  • Examples of retrofitting existing observatories for remote operation
  • Target selection, scheduling and queue observing
  • Event alerting and telescope networks
  • Data handling, reduction, and verification
  • Instrumentation
  • Monitoring and control of observatory systems
  • Weather and environmental sensing
  • Safety

The members of the CFHT staff, along with members of the Maunakea astronomical community, look forward to welcoming you to Hawaii and sharing with you the many aspects of this advancement in astronomical observations.


The Program Organizing Committee
Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope (CFHT)
Big Island, Hawai'i

Program Organizing Committee

Andy Adamson, Gemini Observatory
Sarah Gajadhar, Chair, Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
Russel Genet, Co-chair, California Polytechnic State University
John Martinez, Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope
Christian Veillet, Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
Josh Walawender, Co-chair, University of Hawaii, Institute for Astronomy

The POC can be contacted by email at

Local Organizing Committee

Moani Akana, Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
Ferdinand Babas, Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
Sarah Gajadhar, Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
Mercedes Stevens, Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
Christian Veillet, Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
Josh Walawender, University of Hawaii, Institute for Astronomy

The LOC can be contacted by email at

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Conference Schedule and Events


A welcome reception is scheduled for Monday, 28 February, and will take place on the grounds of the Ball Room terrace from 5:00 to 7:00pm. During this time, "pupus" (or apperitives) from the islands will be served. Upon registering, you will receive two tickets for drinks for this occasion, after which a no-host bar will be available. Participants may bring guests for the reception for an additional fee. Please indicate if you will be bringing guests on your registration form.

Note: The Registration Desk will be open from 2:00pm until 7:00pm, Monday 28 February. It will reopen on Tuesday, at 7:00am.

Conference Dinner

The conference dinner will take place on the Luau Grounds of the hotel, on Thursday, 3 March, at 6pm. This event will be held outdoors and will feature the unique gastronomy spread of a "luau". Music from the islands and an open bar for 2 hours will be part of the evening. Please let us know if you and your guests will be joining us for this dinner on your registration form.

Summit Tour

As part of the conference activities, a visit of the CFHT observatory, and possibly other observatories on Maunakea, is scheduled for Friday, 4 March. The schedule for this event is anticipated to start 9:00am with an estimated return to the hotel at 3:00pm. Transportation and lunch at Hale Pohaku, the Mid-Level facility, will be provided.

As space is limited for this tour, each participant may register up to one guest who is 16 years of age or over. Please indicate if you will attend this tour on your registration form.

The following website will introduce you to the astronomical community on Maunakea, and provide you some necessary information prior to your trip to Maunakea.

Visiting Maunakea Observatories

Click here for more information on deadlines, fees, and to register now

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