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Astronomy Part II: Amateurs making discoveries

Amateurs still make significant contributions to the fields of astronomy and space science. Comets, for example, are often discovered first by non-professional astronomers. In this section we list a groups and programs organized to promote amateur and student activities in astronomy. We also include a sub-section on Robotic Telescopes that give amateur and students astronomers access to professional level telescopes via the Internet.

Amateur Astronomy Projects The sky is big enough for amateurs to make significant discoveries even in this day of billion dollar research programs. Here are some projects involving amateurs that promise to make significant contributions to science.

The Amateur Sky Survey This project will use amateur astronomers to carry out a systmatic sky survey that the professionals don't have the resources to do. "This project, aka TASS, hopes to construct low-cost drift-scan cameras and distribute them to sites around the world; the idea is to monitor bright objects across a large section of the sky." - TASS website American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) This group has involved amateur astronomers since 1911 in observing variable stars for the benefit of astrophysical research. Amateurs make important contributions in this area because the enormous range of observations require exceed what the professional telescopes can cover. Amateur astronomers discover stellar outburst - Astronomy Now - Jan.29.10 AAVSO: Long-term monitoring of the recurrent nova U Scorpii Hands On Astrophysics (HOA) project is an educational collaboration between the AAVSO and the NSF to inspire amateurs to do real science via variable star observation and analysis. A package of materials including software, starcharts, videotape, and more is available. HEAworkshop Amateurs Help Astronomers Unravel A Propeller Star - SpaceRef - Aug.26.05 Amateur Astronomer Locates Powerful Stellar Explosion Before the Pros - NASA Aug.12.03 Star Man: How to Spend $60k on Home Astronomy - Wired - Feb.03 issue 1

Mighty explosion caught by amateurs - BBC - Oct.7.02 Amateurs enlisted in landmark planet search - - May 22, 2001 The High Energy Astrophysics Workshop for Amateurs - Space Science News - Apr.12.00 * Amateurs Reach for the Stars - Space Science News - Apr.21.00

Pulsar Search Collaboratory A program sponsored by the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NARO) and the West Virginia University (WVU) in which high school students analyze radio telescope data for new pulsars. The data primarily comes from a nearly 3 month period in 2007 when the antenna was under repair and stuck in one position, preventing researchers from pointing it at their particular celestial areas of interest. There was a huge amount of data collected and would probably never have been examined without the help of the students. Science students get stars in their eyes - Washington Post - Oct.4.10 Launched in July 2008 at two dozen West Virginia high schools, the collaboratory has been expanded to Virginia, Maryland and seven other states. So far, more than 200 students at 33 schools have taken part. High-School Student Discovers Strange Astronomical Object - National Radio Astronomy Observatory - Sept.22.09 Rare Space Object Discovered by High Schooler - - Sept.25.09 Association of Lunar & Planetary Observers (ALPO) This organization is described as follows: The Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (A.L.P.O.) was founded by Walter H. Haas in 1947, and incorporated in 1990, as a medium for advancing and conducting astronomical work by both professional and amateur astronomers who share an interest in Solar System observations. We welcome and provide services for all individuals interested in lunar and planetary astronomy. For the novice observer, the A.L.P.O. is a place to learn and to enhance observational techniques. For the advanced amateur astronomer, it is a place where one's work will count. For the professional astronomer, it is a resource where group studies or systematic observing patrols add to the advancement of astronomy. Resources: ALPO Images and Observations Amateurs Alert NASA to Saturn Storm - - Apr.29.10

Comet Hunting Finding comets has been a favorite goal of amateur and pro astronomers. Here are resources about comets and comet hunting. CometWatch/ Puckett Observatory - Tim Puckett's site devoted to comet hunting. The Catalogue of Comet Discoveries CARA :: Comet Data Archive for Amateur Astronomers The Edgar Wilson Award - IAU award for amateur comet discoverers Astronomical Headlines - Int. Astronomical Union - where announcements of comet and asteroid discoveries are made. Comet Information and the International Comet Quarterly (ICQ) David H. Levy - famous comet hunter Articles: An eye on the southern sky - BBC - May.4.04 2003 Comet Awards Announced - Harvard-Smithsonian - July.7.03 Comet Award Winners for 2002 - Sky and Telescope - July.4.02 2002 Comet Awards Announced [for amateur observers] - Harvard Center for Astrophysics - July.1.02 Comet hunting in SOHO images The SOHO solar observatory satellite generates images of the sun in various wavelengths. A surprising benefit of these images is that comets that would otherwise be too dim to be detected show up clearly. It has become a fun hobby for people to scan frequently the SOHO images for the sign of a new comet. Most of these comets will soon vanish into the sun and never be visible from earth otherwise. So the observations have little scientific value but the hunt is still an addictive game. SOHO Sungrazers at Naval Research Lab SOHO sees its 750th comet - ESA - Apr.7.04 Kreutz Sungrazers - Wikipedia Sebastian's comet hunt Mike's SOHO Comet Hunt The SOHO-500 Comet Contest - a contest held in 2002 to predict when the 500th comet discovered by the SOHO sun observatory will occur. SOHO Raises the Ante with Discovery of 500th Comet - SOHO PR - Aug.14.02 Armchair Astronomer Finds 500th SOHO Comet via Internet - Aug.14.02 Articles SOHO's 2000th Comet Spotted By Student - SOHO - Dec.26.10 History's greatest comet hunter nears major milestone - Spaceflight Now - July.6.05 Contest to Pick Timing of SOHO's 1,000th Comet - - Jan.25.05 SOHO sees its 750th comet - ESA - Apr.7.04 Now Anyone Can Discover a Comet - Wired - May.6.02 Guess when a comet will be spotted to win a SOLARMAX DVD - ESA Portal May.10.02

Amateur Supernova Hunting While professional automated systems to search for supernova dominate the field, amateurs are discovering a good number of new events, as well. Automated Supernova Search - Pucket Observatory Amateur Supernova Hunting by The Rev. Robert Evans OAM SuperNova Early Warning System Amateur Astronomers Wanted: Amateur Stargazers To Help Solve Supernova Mystery - Ohio State Univ. Research News - Dec.19.05 Amateur Team Discovers a Record 100 Supernovae - Sky and Telescope - July.22.05 Amateur Astronomers Discover Dozens of Supernovae - Sky and Telescope - July.9.02 (Exosolar Planet Hunting) Program to encourage amateur astronomers to monitor stars for the slight diminution in brightness when a star's planet crosses between the star and our line of sight. Volunteer Observatory - Mike Fleenor WASP-1b Observations from Volunteer Observatory - Oct.2.06 4

Amateur Bags GJ 436 b Transit - Centauri Dreams - May.20.07 Modified Backyard Telescopes Find Extrasolar Planet - - Sept.8.06 An army of planet hunters - Cosmic Log / - May.18.06 Amateur astronomer explores from his back yard:Pleasanton man helps professional planet hunters observe changes in space - Daily Review [CA] - July.17.05 Amateur Detects New Transiting Exoplanet - Sky and Telescope - July.7.05 Amateur Astronomers Hunt Planet - Astrobiology Magazine - Oct.6.02 Amateur Astronomers Ramp Up to Discover Transits of Extrasolar Planets - SpaceRef Oct.3.02 Global call for extrasolar planet watching - New Scientist - Sept.29.02 Amateurs Invited to Join Planet Search - - Sept.25.02

XO Project - another amateur group effort to spot transits of exo-planets. Amateur planet hunters help find strange super-Jupiter - COSMOS magazine - June.1.07 Other transit searches: Students Find Planet Outside Our Solar System - - Dec.4.08 Microlensing Follow-Up Network (MicroFUN) This Ohio State University based program organizes amateur astronomers help to find exoplanets using the microlensing technique. MicroFUN is an informal consortium of observers dedicated to photometric monitoring of interesting microlensing events in the Galactic Bulge. Our primary scientific objective is to observe high-magnification microlensing events that give the best potential for detecting extra-solar planets orbiting the lensing star. Info: Gravitational Microlensing - Wikipedia and detection of exoplanets The exoplanet explosion - The Space Review - Jan.11.10 Our Uncommon Solar System - Astrobiology Magazine - Jan.6.10 Citizen Sky Amateur astronomers can participate in this project to help determine the nature of the mysterious companion to the star epsilon Aurigae. Calling All Amateur Astronomers: Help Solve a Mystery - - Aug.25.09 Planet Hunters This project is part of the Zooniverse program to organize scientific research projects in which the general public can participate. In Planet Hunters volunteers will analyze data from the orbiting Kepler Observatory spacecraft to look for planets around other stars.

You missed a spot - amateur astronomers find the alien planets NASA's Kepler staff didn't - Apr.20.11 Join a worldwide planet search - Cosmic Log - Dec.15.10 "Citizen Science" and Kepler - Centarui Dreams - Dec.15.10 PlanetQuest PlanetQuest is "a nonprofit organization whose mission is to inspire global participation in the discovery of planets". The Our Collaboratory software turns your computer into an astronomical observatory and resource library. Our telescopes are focused on extremely dense star regions, such as the center of the galaxy in Sagittarius, and when an observing run ends and thousands of images have been collected, data will be downloaded to your computer and your Collaboratory software will begin analyzing it.

Venus Amateur Observing Project (VAOP) Participants in this project will assist ESA Venus Express scientific studies by carrying out observations during periods "when parts of the planet are visible from Earth that are not visible from the spacecraft (due to the spacecraft position in orbit). Additionally it is important to compare Earthbased observations with simultaneous spacecraft observations. In particular this will allow us to extend our understanding of the dynamics of Venuss atmosphere based on the VEX data to observations made prior to the VEX mission, as well as after completion of VEX operations." Additional info here: Join ESA on the Venus observation campaign - ESA - Mar.17.06 Amateur Space Based Telescopes MOST: Canada's First Space Telescope - Canadian citizens can propose observations on the MOST space telescope instrument. MOST Project Overview Amateur Astronomers Win Time on Canada's MOST Space Telescope - UBC Public Affairs - Aug.27.08 "My Own Space Telescope" Proposal Information Page! | MOST - My Own Space Telescope ISSAT - The International Space Station Amateur Telescope - A project sponsored by the Astronomical League, to place on the International Space Station a small (~15") telescope that would be controlled by amateur astronomers from the ground. The goal was to place a scope on an external pallet in 2006. The project has apparently since been canceled, probably due to the inability to get the telescope delivered following the restricted access after the Columbia accident 6

The project received strong encouragement from NASA and Boeing. They saw it as a great educational project for the station. Boeing would build the scope and NASA would pay for it. The scope would not have challenged Hubble's capabilities, but with 0.2 arcsecond resolution the scope would produce images of sharpness comparable to those from the largest ground-based observatories. Access to the scope would have gone through a central ground based control group run by amateur astronomers. Up to half the observing time would be reserved for school kids worldwide. Planets, bright galaxies, and temporal phenomena of high interests, such as comets and supernova, would be the priority targets for viewing. The prototype Alpha Telescope was developed and will come online as a ground test system. Testbed Paves Way for Amateur Space Telescope - Sky & Telescope - Feb.5.02 Amateur Astronmers to Put Telescope on International Space Station - Feb.1.02 Dell servers power telescope to be linked to space station - Nashville Business Journal - Jan.30.02 Dobson Space Telescope - Students in the Department of Astronautics at the Technische Universitt Berlin, Germany are developing a clever compact telescope design for space. A prototype of the will be tested in microgravity during a parabolic flight. Universe in a Box: Collapsable Telescope Offers Multiple Uses - Aug.17.05 The unfolding space telescope - ESA - July.27.05

Amateur Large Telescope Projects Fremont Peak Observatory Association - this observatory is a "labor of love and ongoing project for dozens of amateur astronomers in the San Francisco Bay Area." It provides a "home for the 30" f/4.8 newtonian telescope" built by Kevin Medlock. The observatory "opened in 1986, and has been open every summer since." LAT - Large Amateur Telescope (Group70) - This volunteer group is building a major telescope using a "mirror blank, found at the University of Tasmania, Australia" . The blank is made "of Pyrex glass and was originally cast in 1938 as a backup blank for the 48in Schmidt Camera now in service at Mt. Palomar Observatory." The observatory "will be located in California's 'Dark Sky Corridor', a 200 mile long stretch of ridges in the Coastal Mountain Ranges along the Pacific Ocean renown for its clear,dark, steady skies." 7

Astronomy Centre UK - non-profit group founded in 1982. Operates several telescopes and is working on a 42inch mirror. Amateur Solar Astronomy Technology introduced in the past few years allows amateur astronomers to carry out sophisticated observations of the sun that go far beyond just white light imaging of sunspots. In particular, narrow band filters now allow imaging of details in the chromosphere. Coronado Instruments : H alpha filters for the Solar Observer Sun-watching takes center stage: Amateur astronomers gathered in Arizona to learn about solar observing - Robert D. Miller - Astronomy Magazine - Nov.05 New Mexico Skies This "Guest Observatory for the Sophisticated Amateur Astronomer" is located Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico at the top of Mt. Joy. The six observatories at the site can be reserved for on-site use. One can be accessed remotely and is used by the Student Telescope Network discussed below. Planetary Society's NEO (Near Earth Objects) The Planetary Society has developed this separate site devoted to the study of asteroids and comets that pass relatively close to earth. These objects are very interesting scientifically and it's also a good idea to keep an eye out for objects that are on a collision course with earth This is an area where amateur astronomers can make significant contributions, especially considering the modest government support for NEO research. In support of NEO efforts, the Planetary society established the Gene Shoemaker Near-Earth Object Grant to provide money ($5-10k) for amateurs, as well as professional rsearchers, to purchase equipment. Frank Zoltowski, for example, is an amateur astronomer who received a Shoemaker Grant in late 1998. He used the money for an improved CCD camera that allowed him to make more precise observations of these faint objects. According to a Planetary Society press release, his measurements of the NEO named "1999 AN10" "..enabled researchers at the IAU: Minor Planet Center (MPC) to develop more precise future orbital calculations for the object, which is expected to pass within 200,000 kilometers (about 120,000 miles) of Earth in 2027, with the potential for even closer Earth approaches in 2044 and 2046." Online Spacewatch Volunteer Discovers Close-Approaching Asteroid - SpaceWatch PR Jan.21.04 Other Asteroid Observation Projects Amateur Observers' Program - UMD 8

Originally designed to support the NASA Discovery mission Deep Impact, this site provides info on how to track "asteroids Vesta and Ceres in support of the NASA Discovery mission Dawn and comet Hartley 2 in support of EPOXI" University of Washington course gets undergraduates directly involved in asteroid tracking and discovery: Teenage asteroid hunters - Cosmic Log - Oct.10.07 UW undergrads discover more than 1,300 asteroids - University of Washington News - Oct.8.07 International Occultation Timing Association This group organizes efforts to observe occultations and eclipses. Asteroid, as well as lunar occultations, are of interest in studying the occulted star as well as the asteroid. Multiple views of lunar occultations provide precise mappings of the Moon's limb. This, in turn, helps to improve the measurments during solar eclipses of the sun's diameter and energy output Careful timing is crucial. Multiple observations from as many points as possible can greatly increase the depth of information obtained. A lunar occultation observed even with just a video camera can be useful. See, e.g. NASA Space Science News: Amateur astronomers capture rare video of a lunar occultation The IOTA provides "news of meetings, predictions, software, observing techniques and equipment, and results for solar eclipses and lunar occultations as well as for asteroidal occultations." Center for Backyard Astrophysics CBA has been running a project since 1991 to do long term photometric studies of cataclysmic variable stars with amateur telescopes using CCD cameras. Several sites around the world and they would like to have more. NASA Star Trails Society NASA initiative from science@NASA to involve amateurs in real scientific research. Opportunities for amateurs to contribute to projects in astronomy, astrobiology and other natural sciences will be announced several times a month. See, for example, the South Pole Adventure below. South Pole Adventure Students and amateur scientists will be invited by Science@NASA to work with the Center for Astrophysical Research in Antarctica (CARA) on a project in astrobiology in 1999. Stay tuned. The American Lunar Society This group is dedicated to the promotion of lunar observation and research. It sponsors various projects including Yearly "Lunar Imagining Contest". Major Discoveries by Amateur Astronomers Here are some examples of major finds by amateurs: Jupiter impact discoveries Amateur astronomers open potential lab in outer space for planetary scientists, Sandia researcher says - Sandia Lab - Sept.9.10 - a proposal to continually monitor 9

Jupiter for impacts using amateur observers Reports on two separate instances in summer of 2010 of amateur astronomers observing objects burning up in Jupiter's atmosphere: Amateur Astronomers Are First To Detect Objects Impacting Jupiter - NASA - Sept.9.10 Jupiter Took a Double Wallop as Amateurs Watched - Sept.9.10 Caught in the Act - Fireballs Light up Jupiter - NASA - Sept.9.10 - images & videos Aug. 20, 2010 Japanese amateur astronomer captures flash on Jupiter - Space-for-All Aug.22.10 June 3, 2010: Breaking News: Anthony Wesley records another impact on Jupiter! IceInSpace - June.4.10 Something hit Jupiter ... again! - Cosmic Log - June.3.10 Confirmation of the Jupiter impact from Christopher Go - The Planetary Society Blog - June.3.10 July 2009 On July 19, 2009 amateur astronomer Anthony Wesley saw a new cloud spot on Jupiter that had apparently been caused by an impact of a comet or asteroid. Impact mark on Jupiter, 19th July 2009 Hubble Captures Rare Jupiter Collision (07/24/2009) - NASA/Hubblesite July.24.09 Amateur Finds New Earth-Sized Blot on Jupiter - - July.21.08 Jupiter's new impact scar - Spaceflight Now - July.21.09 Amateur astronomer spots Earth-size scar on Jupiter: Australian man alerts Nasa to hole in planet's atmosphere caused by comet or asteroid crash - July.21.09

Soap Bubble Nebula was first seen by amateur astronomer Dave Jurasevich on July 6th, 2008 and first noted and reported by amateur observers Keith Quattrocchi and Mel Helm on July 17th. Amateur Astronomers Discover 'Soap Bubble' in Space - July.24.09 "Bubble" Nebula in Cygnus - Dave Jurasevich Crescent BubbleNB - Keith B. Quattrocchi and Mel Helm Astronomy Picture of the Day - Nov.13.08 Soap Bubble Nebula - NOAO 7 Discoveries by Amateur Astronomers: Amateur Astronomers Spot Galaxies, Comets, Cosmic Collisions and More - ABC News - Aug.2.09

Zooniverse This organization offers several projects in which members of the public can participate in 10

genuinely professional science projects. The projects are created with the help of scientists, programmers, & educators at the Citizen Science Alliance. Here are some of the astronomy related projects: Galaxy Zoo Hubble : "The latest version of the original Zooniverse project. Help astronomers figure out how galaxies form and evolve by classifying their shape. Now with added Hubble galaxies." Galaxy Zoo Mergers: "A test case for more complicated modes of interaction, visitors are invited to compare simulations of mergers between galaxies with observation. By having many thousands of people run simulations, we can explore the vast parameter space more efficiently than with automated routines." Galaxy Zoo Supernovae: Help us to catch an exploding star. The task in this latest Galaxy Zoo project is to help us catch exploding stars - supernovae. Data for the site is provided by an automatic survey in California, at the world-famous Palomar Observatory. Galaxy Zoo 1 and Galaxy Zoo 2 were completed How to take part | Galaxy Zoo Galaxy Zoo Forum Total Amateurs Discover 'Green Pea' Galaxies - - July.27.09 'Green Pea' galaxies spotted - Cosmic Log/ - July.27.09 Join the next galaxy quest - Cosmic Log/ - Feb.27.09 Space fans find new breed of galaxy: An have made a major discovery about the universe by taking up an addictive online computer challenge called Galaxy Zoo Skymania - Nov.24.08. Teacher finds new cosmic object - BBC - Aug.5.08 An army of galaxy hunters - Cosmic Log - Aug.7.07 IceHunters - The goal of this project is help find a second object for NASA's New Horizons probe to visit after it passes Pluto, the probe's primary goal. Here is a description of the IceHunters program: The most exciting citizen science project ever (to me, anyway) The Planetary Society Blog - June.21.11. The Milky Way Project - "The Milky Way Project aims to sort and measure our galaxy, the Milky Way. Initially we're asking you to help us find and draw bubbles in beautiful infrared data from the Spitzer Space Telescope. Understanding the cold, dusty material that we see in these images, helps scientists to learn how stars form and how our galaxy changes and evolves with time." Moon Zoo: Explore the Moon in unprecedented detail using images from NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera. Virtual Observatories The many ground and space based observatories in many different wavelengths generate huge amounts of data that will never be fully analyzed. This is especially true for the new generation of automated telescopes doing sky surveys.


To try to tackle more of this data there are several projects aiming to take advantage of the talents and energies of amateurs and students by making some of this data available on line. The participant can examine a given section of sky just as if a telescope is moved to look there, but in reality it will be imagery already gathered from that region of the sky that will be presented . Assembling the Digital Sky: U.S. astronomers are gathering terabytes of data into a worldwide virtual observatory that will be accessible to scientists and laymen alike -Technology Review Nov.23.02 National Virtual Observatory - US collaboration of observatories to allow access to astronomy data via internet for both professional and amateur astronomers Funding launches National Virtual Observatory - Spaceflight Now - Oct.30.01 SkyView Virtual Observatory - scan through multiple observatory and satellite databases just as if you were aiming a telescope in a chosen direction and picking a particular wavelength to receive. SkyView: All Eyes on the Universe - Wired - Jan.11.03 Sloan Digital Sky Survey A Grand and Bold Thing - The Space Review - Sept.27.10 - Jeff Foust reviews the book, A Grand and Bold Thing: An Extraordinary New Map of the Universe Ushering in a New Era of Discovery by Ann Finkbeiner about the Sloan Digital Sky Survey project. Sloan Digital Sky Survey Releases Six Terabytes of Data to Public - Sloan Digital Sky Survey - Mar.15.04 The Virtual Amateur Astronomer - extensive and well organized collection of astronomical images.


Other Advanced Amateur Astronomy Resources Spacehack - a site dedicated to space related projects in which students and the public can participate. Amateur Observers' Program - Univ. of Maryland Chamblis Amateur Achievement Award - American Astronomical Society New AAS Award for Backyard Research - Sky & Telescope - Sept.12.06 AstroAamateurs - lists of amateur astronomers and organizations Input an image and we'll give you back astrometric calibration meta-data, plus lists of known objects falling inside the field of view. We have built this astrometric calibration service to create correct, standardscompliant astrometric meta-data for every useful astronomical image ever taken, past and future, in any state of archival disarray. We hope this will help organize, annotate and make searchable all the world's astronomical information. Professional Astronomers Assemble Hundreds of Amateur Photos To Track Comet's Path - Popular Science - Apr.4.11 DSES (Deep Space Exploration Society) Desert Eagle Observatory - Bill Yeung - "private amateur observatory used mainly for asteroid observations" Stargazer spends fortune to chase a dream - Globe - Sept.24.02 Earth's new 'moon' is space junk - BBC - Sept.12.02 New moon found around Earth - BBC - Sept.11.02 Educational Observatory - Web Resources Amateurs' Contributions to Astronomy Einstein@Home - analyze gravitational wave data on your home computer LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory) Help test Einstein's theories @ home: Physicists kick off Einstein @ Home campaign - - Feb.19.06 When black holes collide - Cosmic Log/ - Mar.29.06 GAVRT - Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescoope "Students team with scientists to conduct cutting edge research leading to discovery. GAVRT excites K12 students while accomplishing educational and scientific objectives." LOMBRY Thierry, ON4SKY, presents LUXORION project Research activities for amateurs - introduction Amateur research projects National Young Astronomer Award - the astronomy league awards a telescope to the student submitting the best astronomy project. Amateur Astronomer's Notebook 13 - amateur extrasolar planet search project Antnio Cidado - Lunar & Planetary Observation & CCD Imaging PlanetQuest: A nonprofit organization dedicated cutting edge research in planet detection and citizen science Planets Lurk on Your Desktop - Wired News - Mar.2.05 Warren Rupp Observatory - "one of the world's largest amateur operated telescopes" Analyzing planetary image data: An "amateur" discovers moons in old Voyager images - The Planetary Society Blog Aug.5.09 Web cam projects: Webcam Imagers Gather for Q-2004 - Sky and Telescope - Mar.1.04 QuickCam and Unconventional Imaging Astronomy Group J. Liesmann Software development and astronomy Advanced astronomical photography: Martin Pugh Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2009 British stargazer captures stunning award-winning shots of deep space - Mail Online - Sept.18.09 Steve Loughran's photographs of deep space from back garden in Cambridge: One of these pictures was taken in a British back garden by an amateur using kit worth 10,000 - the other cost Nasa millions. But can you tell the difference? - Mail Online - Jan.6.11 Articles/Events Amateur skywatchers help space hazards team - ESA - Oct.12.11 Amateur Astronomers Usher In New Era Of Discovery, Says Report : ProAm collaborations are changing the nature of astronomy; and anybody can take part Technology Review - Jan.6.11 How This Guy Discovered Four New Planets Without a Telescope - Jan.3.11 New planets are a gas! - The Star - Dec.27.10 N.B. girl, 10, youngest person to discover a supernova - The Globe and Mail Jan.3.11 "Amateur" astronomers capture Jupiter, Charon - Bad Astronomy/Discover Magazine - Oct.28.08 Scientists Find Solar System Like Ours - New York Times - Feb. 14.08 Amateur Discovers GRB Afterglow - Centauri Dreams - Oct.16.07 The starman at the bottom of the garden - Manchester (UK) Evening News Jan.30.07 Amateur Astronomer Wins Pros' Accolades - Sky and Telescope - Jan.26.07 Meet the citizen scientists - BBC - Sept.10.06 BBC - Radio 4 - Citizen Science Amateur astronomers make first sighting of "10th planet" through McDonald Observatory telescope - McDonals Observatory - Feb.20.06 When I'm not in prison I'm an astronomer - The Space Review - Aug.29.05 Amateurs Receive Asteroid-Search Grants - Sky and Telescope - Aug.24.05 Amateur Images Venus's Surface - Sky and Telescope - June.3.04 Pro-am Meeting on Comets, Meteors & Meteorites - May.20.03 - British Astro. Ass. 14

& Royal Astro. Society The Sky, Up Close and Digital - NY Times - Nov.6.02 - about amateur astronomers It's Amateur Night in Space - JPL Solar System - Oct.28.02 House Passes Amateur Astronomy Bill Honoring Astronaut Pete Conrad - SpaceRef - Oct.2.02 Seeing in the Dark - How Backyard Stargazers Are Probing Deep Space And Guarding Earth From Interplanetary Peril by Timothy Ferris - Interview at - Aug.29.02 Amateurs Take On the Universe: A look back down the telescope at citizen astronomers - Scientific American - Sept.2002 issue In Backyards, Starry Appeal - NY Times - July.18.02 - home observatories Asteroid Hunting: Bigger Telescopes Aren't Always Better - - July.11.02 Asteroid Discoveries May Outpace Ability to Assess Threat to Earth - Oct.19.01


Related topics at HobbySpace Meteor Observation (in Space Science section) - involve professional level projects in which amateurs can participate. Meteoroid Impacts on the Moon - monitor lunar surface for impact flashes Amateur Radio Astronomy - mateurs can also carry out radio astronomy. See the links in the sub-section in the Radio page. SETI - Our SETI page describes several amateur efforts involving radio astronomy and coherent light detection to search for evidence of extraterrestrial intelligence. Asteroids/NEO/Comet links

Robotic Telescopes Gradually more and more telescopes have come online that can be control over the web by students, amateur astronomers and professionals as well. The setups vary somewhat, but generally the puts in a proposal for an observation. If accepted the observation might be then be done automatically or, in some cases, the participant takes over control of the scope and can direct it.

Student Telescope Network This project was developed by a high school student to "...enable high school students interested in astronomical observing, to access a telescope with digital camera in a remote dark location via the internet, and to pursue basic observational research." The article Student behind global telescope network - - Apr.13.02 describes how Ryan Hannahoe and other high school students developed this system to provide high school students around the world access to a high powered telescope in an area with little light pollution. The Youth Activities Committee ( of the Astronomical League. supports the project. National Schools Observatory This UK program allows British students to use world-class observatories around the world. Observing time is reserved on the telescopes for student proposed projects. Includes 2 Meter Liverpool Telescope in Canary Islands. NSO project.


Faulkes Telescope Project - see below

Faulkes Robotic Telescope Project This major project provides access to large telescopes in Hawaii and Austraila for students in Britain, Australia and Hawaii. Both telescopes use 2 meter diameter main mirrors and sophisticated control and imaging systems. Amateur astronomers strike it asteroid-rich - AstronomynNow - Aug.4.11 Comet images from FT + new minor planets - Remanzacco Observatory - Aug.4.11 Amateur astronomer teams up with ESO and Faulkes - Astronomy Now - Sept.21.10 Comet's split caught in the act - Faulkes Telescope Project - Mar.19.10 Amateur sees comet breaking up from desktop - BBC - Mar.22.10 Fastest spinning asteroid spied by amateur stargazer - New Scientist - May.28.08 ANU to host $10 million Faulkes Telescope - Australian National Univ. PR - Jan.23.02

RoCCoTO The Robotic Telescope You Control The University of Glamorgan in Wales will host this new 40.6cm robotic telescope that students and amateur astronomers will operate over the Internet. "Students and astronomers will be able to send instructions to the control centre which will communicate them directly to the telescope using Internet technology. The telescope will then take over, responding to the series of commands sent each day. " Dome is home to robotic telescope - BBC - Oct.21.01 "Astronomy, Remote Control Telescopes, Observatories, View the Universe". This program offers a robotic telescope service on a commercial basis. Users pay a subscription fee to access a large telescope on the Canary Islands. In October 2010, Slooh and Google Earth announced a partnership that combines the astronomical images generated by Slooh and the Google Earth sky database: Slooh to Map the Universe With Google Earth: New Slooh Layer in Google Earth and New Slooh Space Camera Launch Cards Empower Everyone to Contribute to Space Exploration - Slooh /PRNewswire - Oct.15.10 Sharing the Google Sky - Cosmic Log - Oct.15.10 Slooh also announced the Slooh Space Camera Lanch Cards: [...] a new retail product sold in RadioShack and Toys "R" Us stores nationwide for $9.99. The packs of 10 collectible cards give kids 8+ the chance to explore the universe by initiating live online missions to outer space. Each pack of cards come with launch codes specific to a particular category of celestial objects such as Star Cities or Sun Clusters. With the "Explore the Unknown" card kids have the power to discover and photograph celestial objects never before captured with Slooh's Space Camera. After 17

punching the launch code into the online Launch Pad, card-users take control of the telescope and join 5-minute featured missions into space accompanied by audio commentary. More about Slooh: SLOOH Skyguide - audio webcast describing the current observations Interview: Mike Paolucci, The Founder Of Space-viewing Service, Slooh - Oct.9.09 Star Hunting for the Rest of Us - Wired - Apr.18.05 Bradford Robotic Telescope This is a 46cm telescope in West Yorkshire, England that is totally autonomous. The telescope "...decides when the conditions are good enough to make observations of the sky by itself (an astronomer does not need to be present) Anyone on the Internet can register and ask the telescope to look at anything in the northern night sky. Observations are automatically prioritised and scheduled and completed by the telescope as time allows. Other data (weather information and reports) are obtained and updated on this site automatically every day..." The eSTAR Project The eSTAR (eScience Telescopes for Astronomical Research) project aims "to build a prototype robotic telescope network, to test computing infrastructure and software which could be used for larger scale projects." Stargazers watch via the web - BBC - May.3.02 Global Rent-a-Scope This service provides amateur astronomers with Internet access "to highly sophisticated remote astronomical imaging platforms" Ever Dream of Taking Pictures Through a Space Telescope? This May Bring the Dream Closer(via NASA's Telescopes In Education (TIE) This JPL/NASA sponsored program allows students around the world to access a robotic telescope. The program currently "..utilizes a science-grade 24-inch reflecting telescope located at the Mount Wilson Observatory, high above the Los Angeles basin in the San Gabriel Mountains of Southern California. The telescope has been used by students in grades K-12 to observe galaxies, nebulae, variable stars, eclipsing binaries, and other ambitious projects and experiments. Hundreds of schools in the US and around the world (including Australia, Canada, England, and Japan) have successfully used the prototype telescope on Mount Wilson..." U.S. High School Students To Control Web Telescope In Chile - ScienceDaily Magazine July.18.02 18

Sotie in Chile NASA- GAVRT Goldstone Apple Valley Radio Telescope In this project students gain access to one of NASA's powerful radio telescope antennas in California. The students will "collect real-time data with sophisticated science equipment through distance learning." The project is run by the Lewis Center for Educational Research is part of the GLOBE program to involve students in hands on research. Schools' Radio-Telescope Project Goes International - JPL - Dec.16.02

Torus Technologies This optics and telescope company has become a major supplier of robotic telescope systems. See the article Torus Technologies Makes Astronomy a "Hands-on" Experience for Students by Jamie Ambroson - ASP/Mercury - Jan/Feb 2002 More robotic telescope resources GLORIA (GLObal Robotic-telescopes Intelligent Array) will allow amateur astronomers and students to access 17 different robotic telescopes around the world for observations of the cosmos. "Gloria" will allow internet astronomers to access worldwide robotic telescope network - gizmag - Oct.18.11 PIRATE: Physics Innovations Robotic Astronomical Telescope Explorer Torus Tech Links - list of robotic telescope projects using this companies scopes Software Bisque - offers program for remote control of telescopes. iBisque Internet Astronomy - schedule time on research gread observatory equipment... Browser Astronomy - try the simulation of remote observation Rent-a-scope - Astrophotography - pay for on line access to a large telescope Grainger Observatory - robotic telescope University of Iowa Automated Telescope Facility DC-3 Dreams Software - astronomy software Virtual Observatories | Astronomy Resources | Hayden Planetarium Articles Virtual astronomers look to Web, not sky - Helenair/AP - Jan.16.07 Jamieson Telescope Will Light Infrared Universe for Amateur Astronomers - UA News - Nov.18.05 See stars from your computer: Internet Sites Bring Observatories To Astronomy Fans' Computers - MercuryNews - Mar.14.05