It’s tantilisingly within reach

Forums Exoplanets Opportunities for amateurs It’s tantilisingly within reach

Dominic Ford

Yes, I agree that amateur transit surveys are tantalisingly within reach. The hardware used by most of the ground-based professional surveys is basically high-end amateur kit. Though, crucially, with professional-grade CCDs, dark sites, and many years of software development to pull out ridiculously small signals from the photometry.

I am doubtful about the prospects for amateurs discovering even hot Jupiters by themselves. The professionals have been at this game for a couple of decades now, and I suspect all the really conspicuous transiting objects have already been found. There are bound to be plenty remaining with long periods, but amateurs will have the same difficulty as professionals that you’re unlikely to happen to be looking at the right star at the right time to record very infrequent transits (bearing in mind you have to see at least 2-3 transits of the same planet to convince anyone).

Doing follow-up on known targets sounds like a far more realistic prospect.

Though, of course, I invite you to prove my scepticism wrong! 🙂