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Old 2021-12-15, 18:35   #1
xilman
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Default Pro-Am collaboration

At https://www.iau.org/news/announcements/detail/ann21064/ you will find a request for all astronomers, amateur, professional and corporate, to take part in a survey concerned with how professional and amateur astronomers can co-operate to the benefit of both parties.

I've done my bit and it really was very easy.

I urge all astronomers on the forum to take part, whether or not you have already contributed to a joint project, and to pass on this request to other astronomers in your contact lists. Two of my Twitter followers have already re-tweeted.

Thanks,

Paul
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Old 2021-12-15, 21:41   #2
chalsall
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xilman View Post
I've done my bit and it really was very easy.
Hey Paul.

I would be willing to bring some resources to bear on this. And I suspect many others would be equally motivated.

But the link you provided doesn't explain terribly clearly how someone might help.

And the language is rendered in a tiny little font on desktop; your web people don't understand the differences between Pixels and Points.

Please tell us, in very clear terms, how people can help.
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Old 2021-12-15, 23:35   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xilman View Post
whether or not you have already contributed to a joint project,
I participated in a project today. I reported a glorious bolide that I saw at 0100 local. It was also witnessed by someone over 120 km away. Also, I helped mark rocks on Bennu, ahead of the sampling.
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Old 2021-12-16, 11:11   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chalsall View Post
Hey Paul.

I would be willing to bring some resources to bear on this. And I suspect many others would be equally motivated.

But the link you provided doesn't explain terribly clearly how someone might help.

And the language is rendered in a tiny little font on desktop; your web people don't understand the differences between Pixels and Points.

Please tell us, in very clear terms, how people can help.
I will try to address your points, the easy one first. I filled in the survey on a desktop machine running Firefux. I did not see anything out of the ordinary with text size. Perhaps a different browser or temporarily changing font size might help? I can try to feed back your pixel size comment to the survey authors but suspect that it may be the survey company, not the IAU, who need to change their production. (It's not my web people! )

At the moment the survey is trying to ascertain how many people are willing to help in one or more broadly defined fields: variable stars, solar system, galaxies, data mining, etc. They are also asking about what we've been doing, if anything, within those same areas. The other important question is how can we help you, by running on-line courses, in-person workshops, etc?

As I understand it, specific requests for help will come specific professional astronomers when and if amateurs are capable of collaboration with them. I expect, but do not know, that future survey(s) will be aimed at establishing levels of interest, expertise, technological capabilities, and so on.

This survey appears to be the very first attempt to make contact, with detailed discussion to take place later if it turns out to be worth the additional effort.
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Old 2021-12-16, 11:17   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
I participated in a project today. I reported a glorious bolide that I saw at 0100 local. It was also witnessed by someone over 120 km away. Also, I helped mark rocks on Bennu, ahead of the sampling.
Excellent. Please continue to do so!

I submitted 12k photometric measurements of an X-Ray BH transient's accretion disk to a paper published in MNRAS earlier this year and am co-author of another MNRAS paper published a couple of years back --- that one semi-theoretical work on the spectrum of AlH and AlD. I've also done asteroidal photometry and astrometry, and VS photometry, which has been fed into the relevant databases.

There's something for everyone. Some of the best photometry of the last epsilon Aurigae eclipse was taken by a guy with a 10cm reflector. If you are into data mining or semi-theoretical work all you need is a computer, disk space and a half-way decent (5Mb say) internet connection.

Last fiddled with by xilman on 2021-12-16 at 17:03 Reason: s/MRNAS/MNRAS/
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Old 2021-12-16, 16:03   #6
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As always, I recomment https://www.zooniverse.org/projects for any "citizen science" , would it be astronomy (bolide,galaxy, transit spoting), wildlife identification(รนany natural african reserve park), social studies ( criminal record of austrlian prisoner) or any other science project.
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Old 2021-12-16, 17:00   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xilman View Post
I can try to feed back your pixel size comment to the survey authors but suspect that it may be the survey company, not the IAU, who need to change their production.
I pointed the IAU contact point to this thread, along with a brief explanation.

If anything does happens, firejuggler's response mentioning Zooniverse (and this one) are very likely to be picked up. My view is that Zooniverse is an excellent way of engaging people who use computers, but rather poor for engaging people with access to telescopes, spectrographs and cameras. A view which the survey originators may wish to take on board.

Last fiddled with by xilman on 2021-12-16 at 17:02
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Old 2021-12-16, 21:04   #8
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Default Thinking about this a bit...

Thanks to Paul for reaching out. This is a very interesting "problem space".

In addition to having Humans train AIs by way of websites, there is the question of distributed data collection from multiple PoVs.

Specifically, is there any value in "crowd-sourcing" observations? Based on what I have read, I /think/ I understand this /could/ be worth the effort.

The question then becomes, how can this best be done?

I happen to know a few people all over the world (and if I do, then many others do as well) who would be willing to invest a few hundred (or, even, a few thousand) to receive a "box of kit", with instructions as to how best to deploy it.

Presume stable power and connectivity will be provided.

Thoughts welcomed.
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Old 2021-12-17, 08:02   #9
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Quote:
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Specifically, is there any value in "crowd-sourcing" observations? Based on what I have read, I /think/ I understand this /could/ be worth the effort.
Very much so.

To take just one example: the 12K measurements I contributed was almost exactly 5% of the total used in the study. Those 12K came from a single site in La Palma. The others were taken from all over the world. It is dark somewhere in the world at all times, so the measurements were distributed through all hours of the UTC day. Not evenly distributed, because most were in Europe and North America, but enough to give a dense sampling of the light curve. The number and density of those 240+ K observations were absolutely essential to the analysis. The vast majority of the observations were made by amateurs.

There are many other situations when crowds of astronomers pool their efforts.
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Old 2021-12-17, 15:00   #10
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All sky fireball cameras well distributed around the world would be an example of set it and forget it kit.
Transit observations is another example of where multiple smaller scopes distributed around could make an impact. Placing wide spaced fixed arrays of smaller scopes that could do light curve follow ups and also do transit work (like the MU69 study) could well contribute to the advancement of knowledge. With Starlink, remote stations won't need wires running to them anymore.
Attached are images I produced a while back about this idea. I did not do illustrations for other areas. The kit required to be useful does not have to be huge.
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Old 2021-12-17, 17:11   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncwilly View Post
All sky fireball cameras well distributed around the world would be an example of set it and forget it kit.
Transit observations is another example of where multiple smaller scopes distributed around could make an impact. Placing wide spaced fixed arrays of smaller scopes that could do light curve follow ups and also do transit work (like the MU69 study) could well contribute to the advancement of knowledge. With Starlink, remote stations won't need wires running to them anymore.
Attached are images I produced a while back about this idea. I did not do illustrations for other areas. The kit required to be useful does not have to be huge.
Coincidentally I read this paper about 15 minutes ago. Your mention of Starlink prompted me to link to it here.

Two quotes:

4.1. Bright Streaks in Research Images and Astrophotography

...

The expectation that the satellite will pass through the field of view is then estimated as
Equation (2)

where R is the typical sky motion of a satellite, w is the characteristic width of the detector (taken to be 1ยฐ, typical for a wide-field camera), t is the exposure time, and N is the number of satellites in the sky area ฮฉsky. For R โ‰ˆ 2000'' sโˆ’1 (typical for a satellite at โˆผ500 km orbital altitude) and an exposure time of t = 10 s, we find E โ‰ˆ 0.22. Assuming Poisson statistics, the probability of one or more satellites passing through the field of view of the square degree telescope is about 20% under the models explored here. For a three minute exposure, as is common for deep Kuiper Belt surveys (e.g., Bannister et al. 2018), a typical exposure will include four satellite trails, depending on satellite brightness. While most parts of the world will have some period of time each night with few-to-no sunlit satellites, telescopes at high latitudes will experience this rate of satellite contamination all summer.

and
4.3. False Positives in Occultation Studies

Even when satellites are not sunlit, they can still potentially interfere with astronomical observations. They are too fast to cause a measurable change in, for example, an exoplanet transit observation. But occultation experiments like TAOS, which is using high-cadence observations with the goal of detecting occultations of stars by small bodies in the solar system (Zhang et al. 2013), could potentially experience a new source of noise.

...

To approximately calculate this, consider the same setup as in Section 4.1, with 400 satellites passing through a sky area of ฯ€ sr at any moment. At a range of 1000 km, a plausible angular size of a satellite is about 0farcs5. Taking the satellite's sky motion to be 2000'' sโˆ’1, then the satellite population would sweep out an area equivalent to that entire section of the sky with a frequency of about 0.3 dayโˆ’1. During that time, if we are monitoring an average of 10,000 stars (as TAOS II plans to do; Lehner et al. 2019) in each field, then for 8 hr nights, we would expect around 1000 satellite occultation events per night, on average. This is much higher than the expected occultation frequency of stars by small trans-Neptunian objects (TNOs; <10โˆ’3 per star per year), and may become a limiting source of noise for this type of astronomy research.
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