Last updated 2015 September 29


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The purpose of this BAA Comet Section ( guide is to help amateur astronomers, of all ability levels, to develop their observational skills by hunting for comets visually, using binoculars and telescopes, by imaging and by searching images returned by spacecraft such as SOHO and STEREO. It would seem appropriate to name it ‘Project Alcock’ after the UK’s foremost comet discoverer – George Alcock.


The chances of discovering any new celestial object are small but ultimately worth pursuing. There are many aspects to comet observation all of which will eventually form part of this guide i.e.

- locating and observing known comets

- monitoring specific comets e.g. splitting, in outburst

- follow-up observations of newly discovered comets

- finding comets masquerading as asteroids or NEOs

- recovering returning periodic comets

- discovering comets

- on-line image analysis

- participation in pro-am projects


Please contact me, roger.dymock  ‘at’, if you would like me to come and talk to your local astronomical society or if there are any aspects of comet observing and imaging you would like more information on or added to this website.






CCD Astrometry and Photometry


How to obtain a Minor Planet Center Observatory code


Cometary Archive for Afrho (CARA) method of astrometry and photometry


Known comets – observation planning tools and methods


Visual observations of comets


Basic DSLR astrophotography


Finding comets on SOHO images


Using the SSON robotic telescope


A beginner’s guide to using the iTelescope robotic telescope network

My thanks to Steve Broadbent, of the Hampshire Astronomical Group, for his guidance in using this facility.


Submitting images to the BAA and other organisations


A beginner’s guide to spectroscopy using SSON images and Visual Spec

            Spectroscopy Part I - using the SSON Transmission Grating Spectrograph

            Spectroscopy Part II - Generating a profile using Visual Spec

            Spectroscopy Part III - Analysing spectra using Visual Spec

            Spectroscopy Part IV - Resources

            Spectroscopy, Part V - The Miles catalogue of spectra


Presentations (in pdf format)


(To return to this page after viewing one of the presentations press ‘Back’ on your browser)


BAA Observers’ Workshop - Comets and Meteors 2015 September 26

Notes for Comets and Meteors workshop


BAA Observers’ Workshop – Comet Photometry


Comets – where are they ?


Project Alcock - Complete


Project Alcock – Asteroid Comet meeting 2012 October 6


Project Alcock – The Astronomer Annual Meeting 2012 October 13


Project Alcock – Hampshire Astronomical Group 2013 February 6


CCD Astrometry and Photometry - BAA Comet Section meeting 2013 May 18


Finding comets on SOHO images


Presentation notes


Comets – where are they ?


Project Alcock – The Astronomer Annual Meeting 2012 October 13


Descriptive stuff


Comets A to Z

An on-going project with new material being added as time permits


Measuring comet magnitudes on CCD images


Measuring comet magnitudes on CCD images – Part II


Multi-aperture photometry by Julio Castellano (Translation from Spanish to English by Google with a little help from Roger Dymock)


What is a comet ?










Space Missions