GLORIA is an innovative citizen-science network of robotic telescopes, which will give free access and research to a virtual community via the Internet. The GLORIA partners will offer access to a growing collection of robotic telescopes via a Web 2.0 environment - 17 telescopes on 4 continents by the project’s end.
The GLORIA partners can do this because most of the telescopes are already robotized using the same free/open-source RTS2 software (maintained by GLORIA members), and the web access will be based on Ciclope Astro (also by a GLORIA member), which currently provides the world’s first free-access robotic telescope at Montegancedo Observatory (http://om.fi.upm.es). The Internet experiments will be coordinated by Galaxy Zoo (http://galaxyzoo.org).
The challenge will be to involve people from around the world, to maximise their collective intelligence, and to foster their participation in astronomy research both in data analysis and actual observations. The e-Infrastructure will be managed using the method of ‘karma’, proven in most successful web 2.0 sites, whereby those users who participate the most are awarded corresponding observing time.
GLORIA will be an e-Science network for the virtual community, demonstrating how networking and open e-Infrastructures can increase the quality of research.
During the project, 17 telescopes and 2 experiments will be deployed for these citizen scientists, and a foundation will be built up of documentation, free software, and a community of people will have grown, to maintain and grow GLORIA into the future.
Significant dissemination efforts will be made to draw in ordinary people, as well as scholars, to use the network, to learn about astronomy, and to do real science.
Currently, GLORIA’s telescopes are individually supported from national funds and as this should continue, the network will not bear the cost of their maintenance. GLORIA can easily survive in the future with minimal national funding or even donations