Scanning the Auroral Skies: The Athabasca University Robotic Telescope


  • Ian Schofield Centre for Science, Athabasca University
  • Martin Connors Centre for Science, Athabasca University/University of Calgary
  • Phil Langill University of Calgary Rothney Astrophysical Observatory
  • Stefan Cartledge Macewan University


The Athabasca University Robotic Telescope (AURT) is a moderate aperture (0.36 m) networked robotic telescope that supports teaching and research at Athabasca University, a pioneering and prominent distance learning university in Canada. This paper reviews the establishment and implementation of a robotic, Internet-based astronomical observatory whose development parallels and complements Athabasca University’s auroral observatory. We discuss the unique features and challenges of the northern observing environment, give examples of teaching and research activities underway at AURT, and discuss an investigation into dark sky conditions over the AURT site.