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Old 2013-05-21, 07:27   #1
cheesehead
 
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"Richard B. Woods"
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Default Professional and Amateur Collaborations in Planetary Astronomy

"Instrumental Methods for Professional and Amateur Collaborations in Planetary Astronomy"

abstract at http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.3647

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Amateur contributions to professional publications have increased exponentially over the last decades in the field of Planetary Astronomy.

Here we review the different domains of the field in which collaborations between professional and amateur astronomers are effective and regularly lead to scientific publications.

We discuss the instruments, detectors, softwares and methodologies typically used by amateur astronomers to collect the scientific data in the different domains of interest.

Amateur contributions to the monitoring of planets and interplanetary matter, characterization of asteroids and comets, as well as the determination of the physical properties of Kuiper Belt Objects and exoplanets are discussed.
PDF (9.4 MB) at http://arxiv.org/pdf/1305.3647v1.pdf

(spacing added below)
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1 Introduction

Astronomy is a unique scientific domain where amateurs and professionals collaborate significantly.

Professional and amateur collaborations (hereafter PRO-AM collaborations) really started in the 19th century ...

A strong revival of PRO-AM collaborations occurred since the early 1980s, essentially for two reasons [29]. First, the growth of Solar System exploration via robotized spacecraft missions motivated the need of permanent monitoring of the planets and the use of historical archives to help understanding their structure and evolution. Second, the democratization of digital imaging, the use of more affordable but sophisticated telescopes and the occurrence of internet allowed amateur astronomers to work more closely with professionals. ...

Despite the exponential increase of amateur contributions to professional publications over the last decades (see Fig. 1), reviews describing the possible fields of PRO-AM collaborations in astronomy are very scarce.

The aim of the present paper, written both by professional and amateur astronomers, is to overcome this deficiency in the field of planetary science.

It describes the different fields of planetary science in which PRO-AM collaborations are effective in order to show to the professional community that amateur collaborations can provide high quality data to their domain.

In addition, this paper can be used by amateurs as a guide allowing them to select the field of PRO-AM collaborations to which they could contribute as a function of their degree of motivation and equipment.

. . .
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Old 2013-05-21, 08:45   #2
xilman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheesehead View Post
"Instrumental Methods for Professional and Amateur Collaborations in Planetary Astronomy" abstract at http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.3647
Quote:
Amateur contributions to the monitoring of planets and interplanetary matter, characterization of asteroids and comets, as well as the determination of the physical properties of Kuiper Belt Objects and exoplanets are discussed.
Since last October I've been part of a PRO-AM team working on characterizing exoplanets. I'm the amateur participant in the ExoMol project. There are no instrumental methods at all in my part of the project --- purely theory and data analysis.
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Old 2013-05-21, 12:06   #3
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Since last October I've been part of a PRO-AM team working on characterizing exoplanets. I'm the amateur participant in the ExoMol project. There are no instrumental methods at all in my part of the project --- purely theory and data analysis.
Wow!

Can you describe the respective amateur and pro roles in ExoMol? ExoMol is a database -- okay, but I don't see any explanation of what any project participant actually does.
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Old 2013-05-21, 13:08   #4
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As for me, I use planethunters.org.
Hubble look at stars, and the variation of their luminosity.
If there is a deip in luminosity, and is regular ( for as short as a few day to 1000+days) then there is a high probability of a *second* body orbiting this star.. which can be a planet or a secondary star.

Below is a 'know" binary star: two star orbiting each other, a small star orbit a larger star.
The large dip is probably when the smaller star pass in front ( for us) of the larger one, the second dip when it get behind.

the lightcurve would change if both stars are of equivalent size.
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Old 2013-05-21, 16:36   #5
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Data from NASA's Kepler space telescope, according to http://www.planethunters.org/science#challenge.

(Kepler is the one that recently suffered a malfunction after four years of observations.)

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Old 2013-05-21, 17:11   #6
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My bad, Hubble is used for classifying galaxies

https://www.zooniverse.org/ contain several project (including planethunters) ranging from looking for (new) crater on the moon to looking for gravitationnal lenses.
If you feel more down to earth there are also other project you can take part of.
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Old 2013-05-21, 17:22   #7
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Wow!

Can you describe the respective amateur and pro roles in ExoMol? ExoMol is a database -- okay, but I don't see any explanation of what any project participant actually does.
I can try.

Not trying to teach you egg-sucking techniques but I've no idea of your background in molecular spectroscopy so please forgive me if this comes across as over-patronizing.

First off, astronomers aren't that interested in spectroscopy per se but, rather in what spectroscopy can tell them about astronomical objects. Topics of interest include chemical composition, temperature, pressure, chemical reactions, gravity gradients, wind speeds and so on. Molecular spectra can constrain each of these quantities.

Spectra as measured in the lab are measured at a particular temperature and pressure by and large. To predict the relative intensities of spectral lines, together with the line widths (Doppler broadening from temperature effects and lifetime shortening {think Heisenberg uncertainty E vs T}, requires theoretical extrapolation from lab measurements.

For a particular molecule, the positions of the spectral lines (i.e. the energy separation of pairs of molecular states) depends on the electronic and mechanical properties of the two states in question, including their angular momentum and vibrational "stiffness" of the bonds between the atoms which form the molecule.

What I do is take the lab data and attempt to fit it to a theoretical or ad hoc model of the electronic, vibrational and rotational properties. Given that model, it is then possible to predict the spectrum which would be observed under specific conditions of temperature, pressure and so on.

So far, I've been working on the AlH molecule which has been observed in sunspots and cool stellar atmospheres. It is expected to be present in "hot Jupiters" too.

A further wrinkle is that isotopic variations on the molecules affect the spectrum. (Think: mass differences change moments of inertia and vibrational frequencies.) So I've also analysed lab spectra of AlD and have predicted the specrum of Al-26H. The Al-26 nucleus has a lifetime of around a million years, far too short to have survived on the earth, but plenty of time for the estimated several earth masses produced by a supernova to be incorporated in a near-by planet or star. The gamma radiation from Al-26 decay has been detected in astronomical objects. AFAIK, Al-26 has not been detected in stellar atmospheres but if it were it would be a very interesting pointer to a nearby (few parsec) recent (few tens of kiloyears) supernova.
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Old 2013-05-22, 04:41   #8
LaurV
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I can try.
+1, good and informing post!
(missing the :I_learned_something_new: smiley)

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Old 2013-05-25, 12:02   #9
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another tidbit of info
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