The University of Sheffield "Robotic Observatory for Sheffield Astronomy" (A.K.A. ROSA) is situated on the top of the Hicks Building, adjacent to the Hicks Observatory.
Assembled during the latter part of 2008, the observatory houses a 0.25m (10 inch) Meade LX200-ACF telescope with advanced CCD imaging equipment for use by astronomy undergraduate students.

ROSA Specifications

ROSA Local Access

  • connections to the ROSA Local Access page are only allowed from University of Sheffield IP addresses
  • if you do not have a University of Sheffield IP address and click on the "ROSA Local Access" link, then you will be presented with a server error: entering your University username and password on subsequent web based login screens will not grant access to the ROSA Local Access page
  • if you are outside the University network and want to connect to the ROSA Local Access page, then you must setup a VPN connection from your machine
  • connections to the ROSA control PC are handled by VNC

Connection notes...

VPN - Virtual Private Network
makes your computer part of the University network - only needed if you are not already within the University IP address ranges.

VNC - Virtual Network Client
opens a remote desktop - always needed to connect to the ROSA control PC.

Step 1 - check your IP address

If you are using a managed PC in a CiCS computer room, you can bypass this stage - go to Step 3.

Some computers within the University, especially those in CiCS computer rooms, are now using private IP address ranges. You should have no difficulty connecting from these machines, but if you do, please inform Paul Kerry of the building and room number. In the interim period, try using a machine in a different location.

Check your IP address at (if this site is unavailable, there are numerous alternatives by searching online for "what is my ip address").

If your IP address doesn't start with 143.167. then you will need to setup and activate your VPN connection - go to Step 2.

If your IP address starts with 143.167. then you are already within the University network or already have a working VPN connection - go to Step 3.

Step 2 - connecting via VPN

The computer you are using is not currently within the University network, so you have to setup a VPN connection...

  • follow the instructions on CiCS' VPN webpage
  • make sure that you have the same configuration options enabled and disabled as given for your particular platform on that page
  • when connecting to the VPN, make sure that you are entering your "Remote Access" password which is different to your usual password - you can request a new "Remote Access" password via CiCS' computer account webpage
  • you may prefer to install the Cisco VPN Client rather than using the bundled VPN software that comes with your operating system
  • CiCS have a page on VPN troubleshooting
  • if you make changes to your system networking, then make sure that you clear your browser cache before re-checking your IP address at (or elsewhere)
  • the connection protocol to the VPN is PPTP: note that some routers block PPTP connections by default, so you may need to configure your router to allow access
  • for some Windows systems, you may need to disable "CHAP" in the "VPN Properties" - "Security" tab: just leaving "MS-CHAP v2" enabled

Step 3 - connecting via VNC

You are now ready to proceed onto the ROSA Local Access page which contains further details regarding connecting to the ROSA control PC via VNC.