Posted by Michael Foylan at 21:38 on 2012 Jun 29
Many thanks Denis and Martin for the advice and the website links. Certainly seems to be an interesting area of research that amateur astronomers could be involved in and contribute valuable scientific data.I certainly know a number of amateur astronomers that would be interested in getting involved in this area of research and willing to cooperate with our fellow British amateur astronomers on specific comets. I wouldnt think such work is fundamentally different from asteroid photometry, arguably somewhat more tricky, the main differences I guess is that comets themselves maybe diffuse and extended in nature and perhaps an amateur may need to learn new software and techniques for worthy end results.Like other amateur astronomers undertaking asteroid astrometric and photometric measurements a variety of software can be utilised, I find MPO Canopus, Mira-Pro, Astrometrica and TheSky6 Pro / CCDSoft combo very useful in this regard, I guess software such as listed may be used by many an astronomer on this forum. Such work would indeed challenge those amateurs that wish to bring their astronomy to the next level. When I first took on the challenge of obtaining an observatory code I thought this is too difficult, but perseverance and some help ended in a positive result, I had the same thoughts about measuring asteroid light curves but that too proved to be a very positive and indeed enjoyable experience (I must give credit to Mr. Roger Dymocks book; Asteroids and Dwarf Planets and How to Observe Them that really sparked me into doing such work). I guess what I am trying to say is that such undertakings is achievable by many amateur astronomers here that are keen to take on a challenge but is all the more easier because of the knowledge and help on offer by the BAA. Best wishes and clear skiesMikeCherryvalley Observatory (IAU Code: I83)PS; thanks Martin, I have just ordered your book!