AAS 196th Meeting, June 2000
Session 12. Amateur-Professional Collaboration in Astronomy
Special Session Oral, Monday, June 5, 2000, 10:00-11:30am, Highland A/K

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[12.04] The International Occultation Timing Association's long History of Amateur-Professional Collaboration

D. W. Dunham, B. Timerson (IOTA)

The International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) has had a close collaboration of professional and amateur astronomers ever since it was established in 1975. For lunar occultations, IOTA's many amateur members have helped the professional groups who collect and use the data by writing papers on observing procedures, generating predictions, designing forms and software to facilitate reporting observations, and analysis of the observations. At first, the collaboration was with astronomers at the U. S. Naval (USNO) and U. K. Royal Greenwich Observatories, but now it is with colleagues in Japan at their National Astronomical Observatory and Hydrographic Office who have inherited the work from the other institutions. IOTA has also pioneered efforts to record solar eclipses from the edges of the paths of totality and annularity to measure small variations in the solar diameter. Collaboration of eclipse prediction, observation and analysis has been with USNO and Yale University. IOTA has also worked closely with professional astronomers on all aspects of asteroidal occultations, at first with the Royal Greenwich and Lowell Observatories to establish this new field. The less accurate early predictions made early progress uneven, and most of the work in this field has now been assumed by IOTA. Since 1997, Hipparcos-based astrometric observations have made accurate predictions of these events routine, in a collaboration with USNO (Flagstaff) and Table Mountain Observatory. In addition, inexpensive video cameras have permitted many in IOTA to make more accurate timings of all occultation phenomena. These also led to the first confirmed observations of lunar meteor impacts last November, opening up yet another field for professional-amateur collaboration. Observers can contact Dunham at dunham@erols.com to receive notification of updates for occultations in their area.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.lunar-occultations.com/iota. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: dunham@erols.com

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