Contents

 

Last updated 2014 October 16

 

Home page

 

Introduction

 

This project is a comet observation programme promoted by the BAA Comet Section (http://www.ast.cam.ac.uk/~jds/). 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’ ntlworld.com, 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)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.

 

Index

 

Tutorials

 

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

 

Progress reports

 

Hampshire Astronomical Group – Comet Observing Section Diary

 

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 ?

 

Resources

 

Books

 

Images

 

Meetings

 

Space Missions

 

Websites