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Old 28-12-2009, 06:22 PM
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Amateurs Conducting Scientific Astronomy Programs

I am interested to hear from iceinspace members here who are running a scientific astronomy program at a private level. Examples include:

1. People routinely monitoring and submiting observations of Solar system objects.
2. Nova, Supernova, minor planet and comet surveys.
3. Photometric and Astrometric observers.

Please reply to this post in the following format. In some cases there will be people doing more than one program, if so just repeat the format below in your reply.

Name:
Location:
Type of Program:
Number of observations per year:
Observations submitted to (eg CBAT):
How many years interested in astronomy:
Achievements:
Scope Used:
Mount Used:
Camera (if applicable) used:
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  #2  
Old 31-12-2009, 06:01 PM
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rogerg (Roger)
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I wish I could include myself in the category of "running a scientific astronomy program" but I fear my level of "program" is far too sporadic and low-key to count. Occasional involvement in occultations and comet survey, with a desire to be involved in much more especially along the lines of various surveys. I'm surprised you haven't had more replies.
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Old 01-01-2010, 02:53 AM
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citivolus (Ric)
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I have a long standing, developing interest in minor planet work, both in discovery and occultations, as well as supernova searches. My contributions to the above so far have been on a mostly academic level, while I try to both gear up and do some learning to support them. I need a better camera for any serious nova and minor planet searches, as my current ones are not cooled and are low bit depth.

Location: Brisbane, QLD (Soon to be Canberra)
Type of Program: Asteroid Occultations
Number of observations per year: ~4 so far this year (all negative or failure to observe)
Observations submitted to: IOTA
How many years interested in astronomy: 25
Achievements: Still learning
Scope Used: 12" LX200-ACF, WO Megrez 72 as wide angle finder
Mount Used: CGE
Camera (if applicable) used: DMK 21UA04, DMK 41AU02
Software used: Proprietary
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  #4  
Old 01-01-2010, 09:18 AM
PeterM
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I am curious Terry, are you writing a book or article?
PeterM.

Name: Peter Marples
Location: Brisbane
Type of Program: Supernova Search
Number of observations per year: 5,000-6,000
Observations submitted to (eg CBAT): CBAT
How many years interested in astronomy:42
Achievements: 3 personal supernova discoveries. Involvement in 10 other confirmations (3 for Bob Evans & 7 for Stuart Parker).
Scope Used: Meade 12inch LX200R
Mount Used:Standard Meade Alt Az
Camera (if applicable) used: Starlight Xpress SXVH9

Last edited by PeterM; 02-01-2010 at 07:37 AM.
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  #5  
Old 01-01-2010, 12:37 PM
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More out of curiousity Peter, but what a good idea about the article!

The main driver was to show iceinspace'ers that might be interested in participating in a scientific astronomy program you don't always need ultra expensive equipment. It would be interesting to let this thread run a few weeks, hopefully a few more people will reply, and then I'll compile some sort of a summary at the end.

Anyway, here is my contribution. I also do comet observations but haven't submitted them for years so wont include them.

Name: Terry Lovejoy
Location: Brisbane
Type of Program: Comet Search
Number of observations per year: 4000
Observations submitted to (eg CBAT): CBAT
How many years interested in astronomy: 33 (at least!)
Achievements: 2 personal comet discoveries, 11 SOHO comets discoveried.
Scope Used: 200mm f2.8 Canon lens + C8 Hyperstar
Mount Used: Custom GE (since replaced with Vixen Sphinx)
Camera (if applicable) : Canon DSLR (since replace with QHY9).
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  #6  
Old 01-01-2010, 06:39 PM
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Hi

No work with comets or or other solar system bodies other than the odd lunar grazing event.

Name: Peter Starr
Location: Coonabarabran
Type of Program: Photometry of short period Cataclysmic Variables. Photometry of Hard X-Ray Massive Binaries
Number of observations per year: About 20 000 measurements in 2009
Observations submitted to (eg CBAT): AAVSO
How many years interested in astronomy:39
Achievements: Observations of outbursts in CVs, Data collection of SN 2005 DF for MSO
Scope Used: Meade 14inch LX200
Mount Used:Meade Equatorial
Camera (if applicable) used: Sbig ST-8
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  #7  
Old 02-01-2010, 01:54 AM
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My contribution is probably on a smaller scale than some of the others at the moment, but still a lot of fun.

Location: Wamboin NSW
Type of Program: Supernova Search
Number of observations per year: approx 500
Observations submitted to (eg CBAT): CBAT
How many years interested in astronomy: 40
Achievements: Still looking and learning
Scope Used: LX200R 12"
Mount Used: Currently Alt/Az but Equatorial once pier and Obs are completed.
Camera: Meade DSI II Pro
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  #8  
Old 02-01-2010, 07:44 PM
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Hi Terry,
There are many programs that amateurs can become involved with as well as Pro / Am collaborations.
I put in two years with Swinburne University doing a Grad Cert Sc in Astronomy that opened my eyes to some areas of astronomy that I had never previously considered. I have found that as I have advanced and become better known that it has opened doors for me to become involved in various international projects.
Amateurs can even become involved in such things as Meteor Shower Counts for the IMO (International Meteor Organization) without the need for any optical equipment at all. Also, there are several Variable Stars that can be observed with binoculars and the AAVSO would be very happy to receive such obs.

Name: Trevor Barry.
Location: Broken Hill
Type of Program: Variable Star Observing.
Number of observations: Just under 1,000 although since my involvement with Saturn I have not contributed variable star data.
Observations submitted to: AAVSO
How many years interested in astronomy: Approx 24
Achievements:
Scope Used: 16” F4.5 Meade Starfinder. Designed & built my own 27 point Primary mirror cell, secondary mirror mount, Peltier cooler for Primary mirror. Numerous other mods to scope.
Mount Used: Designed and built my own very heavy duty GEM, fitted with Anssen Technologies dual axis drive & drive corrector.
Camera (if applicable) used:

Type of Program: SED’s (Saturn Electrostatic Discharge) Search for new SED’s and monitoring them when discovered
Number of observations: Got involved in 2008. About 200 images per year.
Observations submitted to Cassini RPWS (Radio & Plasma Wave Science) team, University of Iowa and Austrian Academy of Sciences.
Achievements: Official recognition from NASA in media release for support of the Cassini mission.
Camera (if applicable) used: Initially ToUcam Pro II 840K then DMK 21AU04.AS

Type of Program: Study of atmospheric features on Jupiter.
Number of observations: 2245 records of measurement on JUPOS.
Observations submitted to (eg CBAT): 112 images on PVOL (Planetary Virtual Observatory & Laboratory), B.A.A. (British Astronomical Association) Jupiter Section, ALPO Jupiter Section, JUPOS.




Type of Program: EPOXI Mission, search for extra solar planets using the Deep Impact space craft. Involved supplying Mars data plus data on Regulus captured with the exact same settings with no sharpening applied at all. This data was used for photometric measurement to compare with similar data of Mars obtained with the Deep Impact space craft.
Number of observations: All data was IR and I contributed 54 images to this project.
Observations submitted to (eg CBAT): Goddard Space Flight Centre.


Type of Program: Mars observations.
Number of observations: 2008/2009, 110 images.
Observations submitted to (eg CBAT): B.A.A. (British Astronomical Association) Mars Section, ALPO Mars Section.


My most memorable astro moment.
Location: Hawaii, W.M.Keck Observatory.
Type of Program: Kuiper Belt Search for new KBO’s
Number of observations per year: Well, had two nights on Keck II and one night on Keck I
Observations submitted to (eg CBAT): They weren’t my observations, although I was present as the data streamed in and got to blink a comparison image with the one just taken by Keck I
Achievements: There were two objects that clearly moved relative to the stars in the comparison image. These would have been credited to Prof Mike Brown of Caltech
Scope Used: Keck I
Mount Used:
Camera (if applicable) used:

Last edited by Quark; 02-01-2010 at 07:47 PM. Reason: grammer
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  #9  
Old 02-01-2010, 07:58 PM
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Scientific astronomy program is way too grand for the little I do, but would like to extend into lots of areas, given time & equipment! Lifelong interest in astronomy, but only got started in observational astronomy with first scope about 5 years ago.

Name: Rob Kaufman
Location: Bright, Vic, Australia
Type of Program: Variable stars (novae)
Number of observations per year: varies, 30-40
Observations submitted to (eg CBAT): AAVSO
How many years interested in astronomy: Lifelong
Achievements: Nil. Best obs was from a pre-discovery image of N Oph 2008 No 2.
Scope Used: n/a
Mount Used: EQ1
Camera (if applicable) used: Canon 400D

Cheers -
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  #10  
Old 03-01-2010, 02:19 PM
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Dear Terry
I like the idea of contributing to science as an amateur.
I currently am doing photometry. I have been interested in it since I did some "real" science when I did my masters. The science then was measuring radio sources but as I don't really have access to the ATCA this is now impractical. I can do optical measurements with my gear and really enjoy the time out under the stars in my humble little observatory.



Name: Terry Bohlsen
Location: Armidale NSW at 1100m alt
Type of Program: Variable star observing
Number of observations per year: ~2000
Observations submitted to (eg CBAT):AAVSO, CBA
How many years interested in astronomy: 15
Achievements: 1 published paper on SMC radio sources.
Scope Used: VC200L
Mount Used: EQ6
Camera: SBIG ST10XME

Last edited by Terry B; 06-01-2010 at 08:21 AM. Reason: added missing info
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  #11  
Old 03-01-2010, 08:17 PM
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Keep em coming guys. Some really interesting stuff too Trevor, it's interesting to see somebody doing pro/am work (I'm going to use your amateur efforts for this summary).

NUMBER OF PARTICIPANTS : 8

Asteroid Occultations: 2
Asteroid/Minor planet survey: 1
Comet Survey: 2
Nova Survey: 1
Planetary Observations: 1
Supernova Survey: 2
Variable Star observations: 3
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  #12  
Old 04-01-2010, 03:18 PM
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Name: Chris Wyatt
Location: Walcha, NSW
Alt:1164m
Type of Program: Variable star observing, Comet Observing, Asteroid & Lunar Occultations.
Number of observations per year: I havent worked it out but combined perhaps 1000 or so.
Observations submitted to (eg CBAT): AAVSO, CBAT, ICQ
How many years interested in astronomy: 24 years
Achievements: 53 comets observed, images published, 5 successful asteroid occultations, established my own light curves for T Aps and various comets.
Scope Used: 10" f/5 Dob & 8" Celestron Ultima PEC
Mount Used: Alt/Az with dob and Eq. Fork with C8

Cheers!

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Old 04-01-2010, 05:02 PM
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Thanks Chris. Here are some equipment stats from the 9 Particpants so far:

SCOPES:
Refractors (Camera Lenses): 2
Newtonians: 2
Schmidt Cassegrain (including corrected form): 7
Other: 1 (Vixen VC200L)

Interesting the Schmidt Cassegrain dominates this list (and I've included the modified/corrected versions such as Meade R and ACF as well as Fastar/Hyperstar).

MOUNTS:

Alt-Az: 3
Equatorial Fork: 3
German Equatorial: 5

A fairly even mix of mounts, with emphasis on German Equatorial.

Terry
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Old 04-01-2010, 07:01 PM
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I am trying as my free time permits, to get into photometry and, hopefully one fine day (or night) into spectroscopy.
Perhaps when I retire (if I live that long, that is..) there will be more of it



Name: Bojan Stajcar
Location: Mt Waverley, VIC, Daylesford VIC
Type of Program: Photometry of novae
Number of observations per year: 3-4
Observations submitted to (eg CBAT): 1 so far, AAVSO
How many years interested in astronomy: 45+
Achievements: not enough to be mentioned
Scope Used: MTO-1100A (Maksutov catadioptric), 50mm, 135mm, 200mm lenses for photometry, 10" newtonian in plans
Mount Used: 2 GEM, 1 motorized AltAz
Camera (if applicable) used: Canon 400D
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Old 04-01-2010, 09:59 PM
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Name: Brendan Downs
Location: Ipswich Qld
Type of Program: Supernova Searching
Number of observations per year: 2000-3000+
Observations submitted to (eg CBAT):
How many years interested in astronomy: 20 years
Achievements: Independant Discovered of Supernova 1997de, confirmation of Supernova 1996x for Bob Evans
Scope Used: 12inch LX200 Classic, upgrading at the moment
Mount Used: LX 200, upgrading at the moment
Camera (if applicable) used: ST-7, upgrading next year
Arch Enemy: Peter Marples
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  #16  
Old 04-01-2010, 10:23 PM
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I plan to start searching for comets and asteroids soon with a new project i've started recently.. It on hold at the moment, but think "Mini W.A.S.P"
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  #17  
Old 05-01-2010, 11:58 AM
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Hi All,
Great stuff here. Really interesting to hear what other people are up to.

Stu


Name: Stu Parker
Location: Canterbury New Zealand
Type of Program: Supernova searching, Minor planet timings, Planet imaging
Number of observations per year:up to 10,000 incl planetary work
Observations submitted to (eg CBAT):CBAT, ALPO, NZ minor planet ACC
How many years interested in astronomy:25
Achievements: 7 Supernovae, Double star detected in minor planet event
Scope Used:C14,C9.25
Mount Used: Paramount ME,G11
Camera (if applicable) used: ST8, ST10,

Sxynyx2.0,
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  #18  
Old 05-01-2010, 10:55 PM
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Thanks Stu, Alex, Bojan and Chris. I've tabulated this data so far (see attachment).

Terry
Attached Thumbnails
Click for full-size image (amateur_survey.gif)
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  #19  
Old 06-01-2010, 08:22 AM
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Interesting.
I added my camera in to the original post. Not sure why I missed that field.
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  #20  
Old 06-01-2010, 07:48 PM
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Top stuff Terry L,
Will you be heading to NACAA this year in Canberra?

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