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Scientific Relevance: Selection Criteria

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#1 Enkidu

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 06:20 AM

Observers who enjoy contributing to science: How do you choose the most relevant targets?

 

Do you follow alerts / projects calling for immediate observation? Legacy variables? The Percy list? Target Tool? Monitor for outbursts? Careful reading of research papers/conclusions? The number of existing observations? Other criteria?

 

While I acknowledge any(!) data may be used in the distant future for unknown reasons, I'd also like to hear the rationale for variable classes that "don't matter" and why.



#2 DHEB

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Posted 09 April 2020 - 09:16 AM

Interesting and relevant question! I believe any number of criteria can be important for different purposes. A while ago I listed some criteria that can be important for a variable star program. There might be others of course, but as as far as this is a hobby these five suffice for me  smile.gif

 

Edit: I do not believe there are classes of variables that do not matter at all. I would say that some classes may by more relevant than others for answering certain questions about the universe. But completely irrelevant? None that I can think about.


Edited by DHEB, 09 April 2020 - 09:18 AM.

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#3 Enkidu

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Posted 10 April 2020 - 12:27 AM

Thanks for your reply! I'm looking for a deep dive into usefulness (your 5th point).

 

Am I the only one? Spectroscopists, your thoughts are also welcome.

 

Edit: Some interesting points in this paper (2006) and this discussion (2011-2).


Edited by Enkidu, 10 April 2020 - 04:18 AM.


#4 Stu Todd

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Posted 10 April 2020 - 08:52 AM

It depends on what discipline you are doing.

There are calls for spectroscopy on transient targets nearly every day, as well as ongoing studies of variables, nova and other quickly changing or newly discovered objects.

This is usually in conjunction with photometry by people doing that also (sometimes the two disciplines combined).

Im the quiet times, we take spectra or photometric readings of objects for fun, a favourite star or galaxy etc.

 

I have a good friend who only studies asteroid occultations and that has an alert system of its own.

 

ATel at http://www.astronomerstelegram.org/ is good to sign up to, for transient discoveries, just to see what's going on. The discoverys and results are mostly pros but there are a good many amateur discoveries and indeed, some amateur spectra which confirm the work of the pros. Robin L in these very pages is a world leading amateur spectroscopist who does just that.

 

It goes without saying though, you really have to know what you're doing! 

 

Stu


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#5 Enkidu

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Posted 11 April 2020 - 09:53 AM

Thank you! That's a great summary and an interesting link.

 

So, some amateurs keep up with professionals, and many more "dark horse" observers collect data in dormant areas until theories/technologies/events make them relevant in subsequent years or centuries. That's beautiful.



#6 gregj888

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Posted 12 April 2020 - 11:26 PM

The US naval Observatory is still taking double star measurement as far as I know.  There are a number of amateur's contributing there.    Most of the interest is in fainter closer pairs < arc sec and <m10.  Speckle is the preferred method, again to my knowledge.  8" or larger scope, 290 based monochrome camera and probably a filter or three.  Sloan r is kind of "normal"/preferred but yellow or red low pass and one of the NIR filters are nice to have depending on targets. 

 

If you can get your hands on a NIR camera (InGaAs or similar) there's H and J band measurements are likely to get you some attention but know more of the interest than programs.


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#7 Aquarellia

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Posted 13 April 2020 - 03:20 AM

This is a good topic.

 

I organise my own observation by reading a lot of different information such as AAVSO of course,

In the french speaking astronomer community I send via email the special alerts for relevant events and targets.

All based when not in ephemerids :

 

bandeau_alerte.jpg

 

I send already more than 50 different alerts such as:

- New comet or comet outburst

- Novae and supernovae

- Specific solar activity Ha or WL

- Possible new shooting star radiant

- Brillant noctiluscent cloud

- New brillant Potentially Hazardous Asteroids

- Brillant blazar

- Black hole and gravitational lense effect

- Planetary weather forcast, Mars, Jupiter and Uranus

 

All done visualy only and do have some scientific interest... if shared ...

 

Out of those alerts from the ephemerids I ask to my contacts some special observations, visualy or with camera:

- calculation of a comet distance

- calculation of Danjon for total lunar eclipse

- moon appulses

- observation of star occultation by asteroids

- and for more classical targets, observation of specific behavior of the Moon, Venus, comets, variable stars...

- etc...

 

So we are never enoying with our passion today, just in the near futur by those stupid satellites constellations that will mask our sky!

 

Michel


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