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Unveiling Telescope Live 4 - A New Era for Telescope Live

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Hello everyone!

Today I’m writing to you with an exciting announcement: the unveiling of Telescope Live 4.

Back in November 2021, during the pandemic, we launched the last major release of Telescope Live 3 and, undoubtedly, it marked our initial move to make astrophotography more accessible than it ever was. 

Our mission has always been to revolutionize astrophotography by giving access to all the necessary instruments to everyone who’s fascinated with the cosmos and the night skies.

So we transitioned away from our previous business model - where we were offering the “classic” remote rental telescope service  - to affordable One Click Observations and Observation Bundles, making premium astrophotography datasets accessible for the lowest price available on the market. 

We took this decision because we truly believe that money shouldn’t be one of the main barriers to exquisite astrophotography, so we crushed this “enemy” by opening our image archive at a fraction of the actual cost.

But this ain’t all!

Over the last couple of years, we tirelessly continued to pursue our goal of making astrophotography more available. By staying true to our mission, we've honed our services and delivered consistent excellence.

Our journey comprised several milestones, from enhancing platform usability and upgrading our telescope network to ramping up production of innovative learning resources. Plus, we've amplified our community-centric features.

In just the past two years, we have:

  • Introduced a feature for suggesting observations, 
  • Published a sleeker download manager, 
  • Upgraded our cameras to state-of-the art CMOS sensors throughout our network, 
  • Launched a Tutorials section featuring globally-acclaimed tutors,
  • And last, but not least, in September we launched our brand new Community Forum, a place where all of our users can connect, find answers to their pressing astrophotography questions, and share their journey with a great community of like-minded individuals.

But past accomplishments are not the topic of this communication… Let’s dive deep into what awaits!



The Future of Telescope Live

After two years of continuous improvements, we found ourselves reflecting on the future of Telescope Live. How close are we to fully realizing our mission? What direction do we want to take? What's the long-term vision for Telescope Live?

While we can say we initially started as a premium rental service for robotic telescopes, we now see ourselves evolving into the ultimate platform for astrophotographers. We're not just about robotic telescopes anymore; we encompass datasets, learning resources, and a thriving community.

It's time to evolve further and move a step closer to our mission.

As many of you are aware, whenever significant changes arise at Telescope Live, we don’t just brainstorm behind closed doors. Instead, we adopt a straightforward approach: we turn to our clients for insights.

That's precisely why, in June 2023, we conducted the most extensive survey in Telescope Live's history to evaluate our performance and chart our path ahead.

Your response was incredible! We received nearly 200 comprehensive responses, giving us in-depth insights into what you love, what you’d rather change, and what you hope to see from us in the future.

After a thorough analysis, we now have a clearer vision of our goals for the upcoming years.

But first, as many of you have eagerly requested over the past months, let's delve into the survey results.

Click here to read the comprehensive survey analysis.



The Survey Results (in a Nutshell)

We are incredibly happy to see that the vast majority of you are very satisfied with the current version of Telescope Live, with over 90% of respondents being active promoters of our platform. More than 70% of you think that Telescope Live has been very or extremely useful in improving their astrophotography skills.

We also didn’t find any major issues regarding features and design (over 90% are very or extremely satisfied), user-friendliness or navigation of the platform (almost 90% are very or extremely satisfied). Specifically, more than 85% are very or extremely satisfied with One Click Observations and Observation Bundles. Finally, about 85% are very or extremely satisfied with the quantity of data, and about 83% with the variety of data.

However, the aim of the survey wasn’t just about vanity! 

We also found out many things that should be improved, new features we should launch, and many more suggestions on which we will build the future of our platform.

With these insights, we envisioned Telescope Live 4.0.


Introducing Telescope Live 4.0



With Telescope Live 4.0, we will at last fully embrace our vision and mission, making the platform the ultimate solution for astrophotographers.

There will be two major innovations in Telescope Live 4:

  • A new interface and user experience, which will still look familiar to you - just way better.
  • And… much more data!

Unveiling the Telescope Live Partner Network

Your feedback was loud and clear: you crave more data, a broader array of telescopes, and more snapshots from the southern hemisphere, including captures of planets and the moon. 

We initially considered expanding our robotic network, but here's the catch: our infrastructure was inherently built for telescope rental, which makes a large-scale expansion somewhat impractical.

But, there's always a solution around the corner.

To satisfy your thirst for diverse and high-quality data, we're thrilled to unveil the Telescope Live Partners Network. 

It won’t be just any network; it will be a dynamic collaboration with some of the world's most exceptional astrophotographers. Thanks to these partnerships, we aim to bring you unparalleled variety, giving you access to dozens of telescopes from across the globe

Isn’t that a thing of beauty?

Furthermore, you will still have the possibility to suggest what to observe next. By using a mechanism similar to the "Suggest New Observation" feature, we will continue to prioritize and deliver the celestial targets you are eager to explore.

Our ambition is to host the world's largest and most impeccable collection of datasets. And to accomplish this goal, we simply cannot rely solely on our telescopes. That’s why the Telescope Live Partners Network will play a pivotal role in this endeavor.

I know you are curious, and you want to know every last detail, but at the moment, I can’t tell you much more about this initiative. Anyhow, rest assured that very soon, we will give you more info on the Partners Network.

That said, what I can tell you are the benefits you will get.

Aside from diversity and variety of both datasets and telescopes, quality will be our top priority when delivering new data.

We will cherry-pick the datasets from our partners, ensuring only the best ones get published (meaning no crappy subs and no images with broken pixel lines).

The best part? You won’t have to pay more for the datasets.

But wait, there’s more! 😉

Advanced Requests Revolutionised

Indeed, we’re already working on something spectacular that will allow you to submit Advanced Requests and capture data directly from telescopes within our partner network.

The mechanism we’ve envisioned is as follows:

  • Step 1: Find the target you want to process.
  • Step 2: Fill in the Advanced Request form you're already familiar with and submit it.
  • Step 3: We will share your request with all the affiliated telescopes that are part of the Partners Network.
  • Step 4: Based on availability and other criteria (like estimated time of completion, price, weather forecasts, etc.), we will assign your Advanced Request to the partner that best fits it.
  • Step 5: The partner will observe the target and send us the acquired dataset.
  • Step 6: We will run quality control on the submitted dataset, and only if its quality is exceptional, will we deliver it to you.

What does this mean? 

Every astrophotographer with top-tier equipment under the best night skies can become a data provider, financing their passion and earning money to reinvest in equipment, software, or to save for any other non-astrophotography-related needs.

Everyone looking to upgrade their backyard game will have the incredible opportunity to test drive various setups and gear without having to purchase anything upfront.

Lastly, those seeking more variety will have the world’s largest selection of locations and setups to choose from.

Now, I don’t know what you think, but we truly believe that this is a game-changer for the entire astrophotography community...

Anyway, as I mentioned before, the Telescope Live Partners Network is only half of what Telescope Live 4 will be.

Indeed, this incredible new stream of data will be paired with an evolution of our platform’s UX and interface, refining it for enhanced navigation and accessibility.

A Revamped User Experience

We see the value in focusing more on datasets and less on singular observations, and our aim is to craft an experience that remains relevant and valuable long into the future. 

With these changes in mind, and also on the basis of your feedback from the survey (where you asked for improved navigation and the ability to better search through the archive) we recognized the need to reevaluate how our platform is structured and how users navigate through it.

This is even more important if we consider that the datasets available will keep on growing, so we need a better way to dig into the archive for finding that specific dataset you are looking for.

That said, we understand many of you appreciate our current interface and user experience. While the essence of our functionalities remains unchanged, we're refining the way you access them.

A primary focus of our improvements will be the Dashboard. 

With the upcoming dashboard, our aim is to spotlight what is central to Telescope Live: our Datasets, which you currently know as Observation Bundles. We will simplify navigation among different object classes and plan to feature high-quality previews from our Gallery, replacing the less detailed previews you see today.

The structure of our Datasets, or Bundles, will be consistent. Each Dataset will be made up of One Click Observations (or simply, Observations), with every Observation made of a collection of images.

The way you obtain data won’t change. Whether you're looking to access an entire Dataset or a singular Observation, the approach will feel familiar. And if new Observations are added to the Dataset, you will be able to grab them. 

Beyond the Dashboard, you'll encounter our user-friendly interface - akin to what you experience today in our Tutorials and One-Click Observation sections. What you can expect are new filters and sorting criteria for a more intuitive navigation experience.

And that’s “all”.



Got Questions? I Bet You Do…

I’m sure that, by now, some of you’ll have some questions about this revolution, so here are some anticipated answers to the most thorny questions.

“When will Telescope Live 4 be published?”

We’ve just finalized the design of the new platform. Now we are starting with the implementation but it’s not going to be that simple and quick. We expect to publish Telescope Live 4 in November 2024.

“What will happen between now and the launch of Telescope Live 4.0? It’s almost one year away!”

As you might expect, our quest to provide an incrementally better service won’t stop! 

  • Remember that Forum you wished for? Thanks to your feedback, it’s now live and thriving.
  • We'll soon roll out a brand-new gallery inside the Telescope Live Community Forum to foster our vibrant community.
  • We're soon releasing the Planetary Imaging Section (with datasets and dedicated tutorials).
  • We will start to gradually introduce new datasets from partners well before the TL 4 launch.
  • And new improvements on the platform’s UX will be implemented on our way to November 2024.

“What about the new telescopes from Spaceflux you announced some time ago?”

Many of you asked about the new telescopes announced that didn't come online. These telescopes are owned by our partner Spaceflux, a company providing space situational awareness services.

Over the past months we worked together with them to connect their telescopes to our network. Unfortunately, after many failed attempts, we simply acknowledged the fact that the quality of the data and the integration software wasn’t compatible with what we wanted to provide. 

This led us to decide to abandon this partnership, and concentrate instead on the creation of the wider Telescope Live Partner Network.

“Can I be part of the Telescope Live Partners Network?”

Of course, you can! Clearly, we need to evaluate each specific case to understand if this can be a partnership made in heaven (and to ensure you will be able to provide the quality of data we expect).

We will soon create a dedicated page with all the necessary information and requirements to qualify as a potential partner. In the meantime, if you want to be informed as soon as this page and materials are online, please send us an email at support@telescope.live with the subject “TL Partners Network”, and we will add you to a dedicated list.
In your email, remember to tell us a bit about yourself and your gear, including its location and the main specs for the telescope, camera, filters, mount, etc.

“What about prices and credits, will they change?”

As you might have read, we are slightly increasing our prices to support our operations and to support the launch of Telescope Live 4.0 - in case you missed it, here’s the announcement

Pricing and plans will not change further when we publish Telescope Live 4.0 - you will get the same credits per month, for the same price, and the cost of datasets will be comparable to our current prices. 


Our Shared Future

Looking back, it's evident that Telescope Live has always been about more than just equipment and images. It's a thriving, passionate community that drives us forward, day in and day out. 

Your feedback continuously pushes us for excellence, and our shared love for the stars have sculpted Telescope Live into what it is today. 

As we move towards Telescope Live 4.0, the horizon looks promising. But remember, this isn't just our journey - it's ours, collectively. 

We're not just building a platform; we're reshaping the astrophotography landscape together, and the future looks brighter than ever.

Until then,


See You Space Cowboy…



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Have to say it sounds really interesting and exciting and I personally wish you the very best in these endeavours. Although new to TL, I have found the data sets and info etc really good and who knows, I may well consider applying to be a Network Partner

Keep up the great work


Len Jones (Leonard!...but prefer Len)

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  • 2 months later...

I'm looking forward to LT4. Could I please ask that 

1. responding efficiently and fast

2. working well in all mainstream modern browsers

3. having a minimum use of trackers, cookies and external dependencies

should be aims for LT4, as well as all the usual requests (like much better search). I'd rather smooth working than looking fancy.

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On 3/31/2024 at 8:49 PM, Christopher Curtis said:

I'm looking forward to LT4. Could I please ask that 

1. responding efficiently and fast

2. working well in all mainstream modern browsers

3. having a minimum use of trackers, cookies and external dependencies

should be aims for LT4, as well as all the usual requests (like much better search). I'd rather smooth working than looking fancy.

Hi Christopher!

Thanks for your suggestions; they are greatly appreciated. Allow me to give you a quick reply that (hopefully) will satisfy your thirst for knowing what TL4 will be and what it will look like.

Starting from the fact that we are completely recoding everything, the new platform design was created mainly based on the feedback gathered from our users, so all the usual requests (as you called them) will be taken care of - once and for all!

The new platform will be even more intuitive and user-friendly, opening new possibilities for all our users. The whole project is currently under development, but our guiding star in this process is the willingness to create something that can truly enrich the astrophotography experience across all levels of ability and knowledge, making the experience of working with the best data available even smoother than it is now.

I hope this can give you some more insights, even though I'm sure you understand we cannot disclose much more as the project is currently in a kind of "top secret" phase. 🕵️


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Hello TL,

Below listed are some improvements in the current TL that you will hopefully take into conideration for TL4:

Telescopes with a variety of focal lenghts.  Currently TL has available only widefield (Aus-2, Spa-1) and narrowfield (CHi-1) scopes.  Some intermediate focal lenghts would be nice, for example 1000-2000 mm. 

Exposure durations that may require guiding, for example 600-900sec.  300 sec as the longest duration is not aduquate for higher f-stop scopes.  For example, Spa-2 is severely hampered by 300sec durations, even at 3x3 binning.

Variable binning in the same run for narrowband.  Ha is usually fine at 1x1.  But in the same SHO run, SII and/or OIII would often benefit from 2x2 binning because of the weaker signal. 

Best regards and looking forward to the first TL4 partner images,

John Ebersole 

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I hope that at least some of John's suggestions are given a lot of consideration. I particularly would be keen to have double the binning using the Sll and Olll filters, something I'd do in the distant past when I still had astrophotography gear. I always found that helpful by not requiring lots more integration time in a location (UK) where the skies rarely cooperate. 



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Maybe something to consider for TL5? 

The vast majority of the datasets captured have sufficient integration times to produce great images, the only exceptions tending to be challenging narrowband targets. With this in mind would a new category of 'Repeat Observations' be something that would interest others. I've thought about this a lot but get bogged down with minutae. Need to keep this simple. 

The simplest way of operating this I think would be to only make it something that would be done bi-monthly or quarterly. One 'difficult' target imaged during the preceding 2 to 3 months is chosen by the Telescope live staff, or, by suggestions in the forum by members. Only a target that will still available for capture during the following months, not setting, and was imaged using one of the Telescope live rigs would be a candidate. The filters, number and length of exposures would be as previously captured resulting in double the total of integration time. Just a thought, and as already mentioned, something for TL5. 🤔 Okay, TL6. 



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