Last updated 2014 April 10
This project is a comet search programme promoted by the BAA Comet Section (http://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/~jds/) and the plan is to roll it out via amateur astronomical societies. Its aim is to encourage members of those societies 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 should appeal to all skill levels many of which may well be present among members of any given society. Hopefully this will become a two-way street with ideas being passed around between societies. It would seem appropriate to name this programme ‘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 project 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
- historical research
- participation in pro-am projects
Why this project ?
- comets catch the imagination of amateur astronomers and members of the public
- they tell us about the outer reaches of the Solar System and some may come from other Stellar Systems
- responsible for life and death on our planet
- something for all interests and skill levels
- skills transferable to other objects
- support society members wishing to embark on serious scientific observing projects
How can I spread the word ?
- talks to individual societies
- society newsletters
- BAA Comet Section, Observers’ workshops, Back to Basics meetings
- TA, FAS, SAGAS meetings
- local society workshops
Journal, Astronomy Now,
- on-line presence
My email address is roger.dymock(at)ntlworld.com. Replace (at) with @. Please contact me; if your astronomical society is interested in this comet observation project, if anything on this website doesn’t work or if you would like to see additional material included. See the presentations and notes below for further details.
This website will be expanded over the coming months (more likely years !!) to include many aspects of comet observing and information on the comets themselves. It may not be the most whizzy-whiz website you have ever seen as my objective is to load as much information as possible as soon as possible. Bells and whistles later (much later) !!! It is not my intention to unnecessarily duplicate information on this website so links to existing material will be given where possible.
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Others to be added. These will expand on the topics mentioned in the Project Alcock presentation.
- Discovering comets
- Discovering comets in SOHO images
- Finding comets in the asteroid population (T3 project)
- Follow-up observations (e.g.; of newly discovered comets and those requiring orbit improvement)
- Recovery of returning periodic comets
Presentations (in pdf format)
(To return to this page after viewing one of the presentations press ‘Back’ on your browser)
Multi-aperture photometry by