BBC Radio 4’s Media Show has been sitting in front of the star Ursa Major a few days ago, as it soared over New York’s borough of Queens.
The Sky Watch’s Telescope detects astronomical phenomena with as little as a single photon of sunlight.
The scope is built by Associated Russian Astronomers (Arca), based in the Russian capital Moscow.
Its app creates a three-dimensional map of the sky, perfect for monitoring objects millions of light years away.
“We are interested in global astronomy, which makes the use of ARCA’s telescope to monitor objects from telescopes around the world, or even from your own home,” Arca’s general director Yaroslav Pergimenov says.
Arca telescopes are already used to monitor stars in the southern sky, as well as projects to monitor other solar systems.
They also keep watch on occultations of the Moon, and other celestial phenomena.
And here’s the coolest thing.
As Ursa Major rises over the city, you just have to spot the way you can see the star first and then, after several seconds, make the search to find the telescope.
You’re then looking at the sky and at the telescope, which is right in front of you.
How’s that for special?
Follow-up: Arca’s camera uses satellite images to track the stars in the southern sky. So if one person in New York were to open their window and look straight out, the telescope will already have detected the disturbance.