Re: Fwd: [Allfassocs] Calling all Comet Observers

From: "Jason Hopkins hopkinsjason7@PROTECTED [Abingdon Astronomical Society Mailing List]" <aasmail@PROTECTED>
Subject: Re: Fwd: [Allfassocs] Calling all Comet Observers
Date: November 10th 2021
I’ll have a go, but the weather doesn’t look like it wants to play :(

On Tue, 9 Nov 2021 at 12:12, Chris Holt chris.holt@PROTECTED [Abingdon Astronomical Society Mailing List] <aasmail@PROTECTED> wrote:

From: chris.holt@PROTECTED

Here's something for our imagers - a request via the FAS for images of Comet 67P taken over the next few weeks. Once you have the images (show JPEGs here first, of course), keep them as FITS format and Helen Usher will be in contact again, via the FAS, about uploading them.


-------- Forwarded Message --------
Subject: [Allfassocs] Calling all Comet Observers
Date: Sat, 6 Nov 2021 12:47:31 -0000
From: webmaster---

Dear all

Please see and pass on to your members the following from PHD Student Helen Usher




            photo description available.                                                                A

            group of stars in space

            Description automatically generated with low confidence

                                                                                                          1: Image of 67P taken by Tim Jardine on 5 November 2021 from Coventry


Calling All Comet Observers - or Potential Comet Observers


Would you like to help build on the legacy of the Rosetta Mission to Comet 67P?


The comet has just passed perihelion and is now getting to its brightest (estimated 8th November) and getting closest to the Earth (13th November).


So this is a great opportunity to add to the data set for the comet. 


Helen Usher is requesting images taken over the next couple of weeks, but particularly over this weekend.

Comet 67P is well placed in Gemini although you may have to stay up a little late to observe it.  You can check out the visibility by inputting your location into this page


The comet is about magnitude 10 at the moment, so you will need an optical aid to see it.  It has a short tail too (but don’t expect anything like last year’s Comet Neowise!).  Given the comet is moving it is usually best to take short exposures which can later be stacked (unless you can track at the comet speed).


We are requesting data in FITS format (for a science archive) - remember to check the data contained in the header is accurate for camera, time, filter and exposure in particular.  If you could make a few notes about your observing session that would be great too (eg location, equipment, weather conditions, issues).  Please also keep any calibration files you use.


Helen is hoping to gather lots of great data from a wide range of locations, with a wide range of equipment, and observation parameters.


If you are not taking FITS images, but jpegs, then you can upload to Flickr for INAF's Catch a Comet Campaign


What's the background to this?

Comet science is one area where frequent observations from amateurs can really contribute to leading edge scientific study.  The routine monitoring by amateurs of comets allows changes in comets (such as outbursts or fragmentation) to be spotted early and the professional community alerted.  Larger telescopes can then be used for further higher resolution data collection and analysis too. 


Helen is a PhD student at the Open University looking at the amateur data from the observing campaign in support of the Rosetta Mission to Comet 67P.


She has also been looking at ways of making Pro-Am campaigns as effective as possible, and what tools can be provided for data collection and analysis.


The varied data set from this intensive observation of 67P will allow testing different analysis techniques, and an upload facility for a data archive.  The idea for the data archive is to store comet observations, raw FITS files and associated calibration and context files, for the Pro-Am community to access in the future.


This data set will also provide data for analysing the behaviour of 67P around perihelion.


Where/When should I submit my data?


Helen will be back in touch (through FAS) to ask for data submission when the development and testing of the upload facility is completed.  So hold your data and supporting information for now!


The data in the FITS header cards will be used as the starting point for the verification of meta data to be stored with the observations. The following will be requested in addition to FITS files:

- brief overview details of the observing sessions (to provide context)

- location and equipment (telescope, camera, filters)

- calibration state, and where possible calibration files (flats, darks, bias)


So could you please bear this in mind when setting up your observation runs, logging and saving your data.


Full credit will be given to observers in any publications which use the data 🙂  


If you have any questions then please contact Helen helen.usher@PROTECTED.


Thank you - and clear skies!!









Martin Baker

Webmaster Federation of Astronomical Societies



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