Last updated 2014 November 20


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This project is a comet observation programme promoted by the BAA Comet Section ( Its aim is to encourage amateur astronomers, of all skill 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 this programme ‘Project Alcock’ after the UK’s foremost comet discoverer – George Alcock. 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 added to this website


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

- SPA meetings

- TA, FAS, SAGAS meetings

- local society workshops

- BAA Journal, Astronomy Now, SPA, TA magazine articles

- on-line presence


My email address is roger.dymock(at) 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.






How to obtain a Minor Planet Center Observatory code


CCD Astrometry and Photometry


Astrometry and Photometry of CCD images using Iris


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


Known comets – observation planning tools and methods


Visual observations of comets


DSLR imaging

Basic DSLR photography


Comet photography – first steps

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.


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


Presentations (in pdf format)


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


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


Hampshire Astronomical Group, Comet Section – scheduled for 2013 July 26


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