Last updated 2014 January 30
The objective of this project, promoted by the BAA Comet
is to encourage amateur astronomers 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
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
- offer support to societies and individuals wishing to embark on serious scientific observing projects
How can I spread the word ?
- talks to local astronomical 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 you or 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.
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.
Assistant to the Director (Outreach and Mentoring)
This article was written by Steve Bosley, Hampshire Astronomical Group, with input from Steve Broadbent also of that Group. It will appear in a future edition of the Hampshire Astronomical Group’s newsletter Hampshire Sky.
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)
Comets A-Z – a work in progress
If you have been observing or imaging or just interested in comets for a while you will have absorbed much of the related jargon. However those who are just venturing in to this field may well be a little mystified so this publication may be of some help. The objective of this A to Z is to assist those who have a basic grounding in matters astronomical, but are new to comets, to better understand the terminology used, for example, in
- papers appearing in the Journal of the British Astronomical Association
- the BAA Comet Section’s Observing Guide
- the Comet Section and Project Alcock websites
- articles in Popular Astronomy
This will take some time to complete so I am uploading it as I go.
Multi-aperture photometry by