March 21, 2016 4:20 pm
Updated: March 21, 2016 4:39 pm

Galactic glamour shots taken by tweeting telescope gets nod from Twitter

WATCH: The Burke-Gaffney Observatory telescope at Saint Mary's University in Halifax is being recognized for its unique creativity by Twitter on the company's 10th birthday.


The social media-savvy telescope in Halifax that lets stargazers get personal photos of objects 140 light years away – in just 140 characters, is getting cheers from Twitter itself.

Twitter turned 10 on Monday, and to celebrate it’s tipping its hat to 10 Canadians who are using Twitter in creative, amazing ways.

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Burke-Gaffney Observatory — the Twitter-powered telescope at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax — is being recognized as one of the unique ways people can use Twitter.

READ MORE: Saint Mary’s University tweeting telescope attracts worldwide attention

Space-lovers can pick an astronomical image they would like a photo of, tweet their request to @smubgobs, and on the next clear night, the telescope will take their snap and tweet it back to them.

“The actual ability to talk to a telescope, to make requests and then to have it take a photo for you is something we hadn’t seen before,” said Twitter Canada spokesperson Cameron Gordon.

To use it, you simply find what star or constellation you’d like a photo of and ask the telescope in a tweet, like this:

On the next clear night, the telescope will find your galactic masterpiece and tweet you back an impressive photo, like this:

An image of a star is seen here captured by the Burke-Gaffney Observatory and tweeted to Twitter user @hannahehler.

Burke-Gaffney Observatory

“We were pretty blown away when we saw that example,” Gordon said.

Hundreds tweet at Burke-Gaffney each night

Since last fall, observatory director Dave Lane says interest in the telescope has reached new heights.

“In the last couple of weeks our user base went from about 50 to nearly 200 people [a night] that have requested to actually access it,” Lane said.

“Every clear night there are people literally all over the world, but mostly North America, that are asking for photos.”

READ MORE: 10 years of Twitter: Moments that made history

Lane says he hopes the telescope will soon start to be used by high school students, as it will give them a chance to get more personal with their research.

“These are real images, they have to research what they want to look at, and they get an image of a real object,” he said.

Nova Scotia RCMP were also recognized for their use of Twitter after they created the hashtag #CopCallsNS. The RCMP use #CopCallsNS at different times throughout the year and live-tweet an evening of 911 calls they receive.

The entire list of Twitter’s “10 amazing Canadian stories on Twitter” can be found here.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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