Los Angeles-founded OurSky unveils an ambitious initiative to democratize space study, ensuring the accessibility of telescopes to hobbyists.
OurSky, a technology firm founded in Southern California, intends to offer lay astronomers the tools required to include open-source technology and artificial intelligence (AI) in their stars’ scans. On Monday, the company unveiled the beta category of its telescope network linked through API after generating nearly $10M in seed funding.
OurSky is based in Los Angeles and was established by Dan Roelker and Alex Hawkinson in 2021. Recently, the firm revealed it closed a $9.5M seed round with investments from different firms. They include Marlinspike Partners, Ocean Ventures, Upfront Ventures, Embedded Ventures, and Venrex Investment Management.
Hawkinson, the co-founder and chairman of OurSky, revealed to a media outlet that what the firm has implemented is unique. Specifically, they ensured the sky’s response to an API request. One can make an API request for information, swiftly access real-time data from the vast collection of telescopes, and later use it.
Additionally, developers can be motivated to utilize the APIs to create all kinds of apps that will unlock the flood of information as well as major opportunities.
Dan Roelker, OurSky’s chief executive officer and co-founder, told a media outlet that, according to them, the show is not restricted to one firm. They believe that people with ideas concerning the kinds of artificial intelligence models to develop or the issues to address should use OurSky.
Open-source technology enhances collective development, which entails several contributors adding, altering, and improving software. This results in more innovative, strong, and widely utilized technologies.
According to Roelker, OurSky presently owns 55 telescopes online across 20 sites. They are critical in monitoring orbital objects around the Moon, Earth, and further on. He also said that the firm will motivate amateurs to be part of their network, which can be utilized for joint discoveries as well as monitoring space remains.
Roelker claimed they are almost unveiling their amateur plugins for famous open-source platforms. This will ensure a high number of avid amateur astronomers partnering on citizen science, monitoring space elements, and various applications.
Citizen Scientists Prioritizing Public Partnership
Similar to the open source model, citizen science entails public partnership in scientific research to improve the collection and assessment of information. By taking part in citizen science projects, lay astronomers can aid scientists in amassing and evaluating vast amounts of information that may be hard to analyze by themselves.
Despite ‘citizen science’ being invented in the 1990s, the public has taken part in scientific research for years. An excellent example of citizen science is Scott Tilley, a Canadian amateur radio operator. In 2018, he identified ‘IMAGE,’ a missing or ‘zombie’ satellite that permitted NASA to recreate contact after losing touch more than ten years earlier.
Between 2015 and 2016, citizen scientists claimed they had seen 30 uncommon purple lights in the sky. Fanatics labeled the spectacle Steve (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement).
Steve was previously a secret before being unravelled via joint satellite and ground information, offering more perspectives into the planet’s magnetic interactions.
Roelker said the platform was created for different uses. This includes satellite monitoring, understanding lunar orbits, discovering the cosmos, and exploring the solar system. Further, he said they merged the telescopes and the community, omitted the difficulties of using them, and made them available to the broader community to have the sky’s full-time view.
OurSky Providing Quartet of Subscription Levels
OurSky provides four subscription levels, each increasing monitoring support and capabilities. According to the free plan, a user can monitor two nightly objects, while the starter plan, whose monthly subscription is $2500, allows one to track five nightly objects with user ranking.
The advanced tier’s monthly subscription is $5000 and allows one to track ten nightly objects with greater ranking. At the same time, the enterprise level entails custom pricing for widespread tracking and full-time support.
According to Roelker, OurSky’s objective is to back the astronomy community by giving unrestricted access to crucial photos and information. He noted that in most cases, astrophotographers use a significant amount of time to process images, which can be complex.
Astronomy Incorporating Artificial Intelligence
OurSky intends to incorporate AI into its platform. However, Hawkinson claimed they are yet to consider the integration of artificial intelligence. He also said the company is seeking to include an unnamed artificial intelligence model early next year.
With the use of AI in several industries, astronomers are considering the upcoming technology to develop more potent and more extensive tools to investigate the cosmos.
Two months ago, some astronomers and experts from different institutions, including Liverpool John Moores University, the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, and the University of Technology at California, revealed they had effectively utilized machine learning (ML) and AI to recognize and categorize a supernova as it occurred.
NASA has also embraced artificial intelligence for space monitoring and exploration. In this case, it has been incorporated into the 2027 Grace Roman Telescope mission.
Dr Dominic Benford, Program Scientist for the Nancy Grace Roman mission, disclosed to the media that Roman would provide new ways of thinking regarding the universe. The tools to be created to process this information are all new.
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