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Session 30 - Amateurs & Professionals: Collaborators in the New Age of Electronic Astronomy.
Display session, Tuesday, June 10
South Main Hall,

[30.07] A Small Amateur Research Team Does Precision Science from the Heartland

R. P. Wilds (Heartland Astronomical Research Team (HART))

Members of the Heartland Astronomical Research Team (HART) have worked for years with the U.S. Naval Observatory and the International Occultation Timing Association (IOTA) on their Lunar Occultation Project. We have helped map the Marginal Zone of the moon by observing over 100 grazing occultations. We have helped establish accurate stellar positions in star clusters for determining parameters of galactic rotation in the Milky Way. In doing so we have discovered over 20 double stars.

We have assisted NASA with their Galileo mission to Jupiter and their planned Cassini mission to Saturn by using a CCD imager to videotape Mutual Events. The high quality of our observations, timed to an accuracy of 0.03 seconds using state- of-the-art equipment, will allow NASA to save fuel during these missions. Due to the faintness of the moons of Saturn we had to build our own image intensified video system. We are also using this system to videotape asteroid occultations using a 20" f/5 reflector; in real time it can image to at least 17th magnitude in a 35 minute field of view.

During the 1994 May 10 Annular Solar Eclipse we produced what members of NASA have called the best videotape of Baily's Beads lasting some 12 minutes. This was part of a major research project with multiple teams spread around the United States in an attempt to define the size of the sun to an accuracy of feet.

We are involved in the operation of the worldwide IOTA project. We have been published in the Occultation Newsletter, the Astronomy and Astrophysics Supplement Series, and the Annual Report of The International Lunar Occultation Centre from Tokyo, Japan. We are always searching for new areas to contributing observations. Please let us know if our team can be of help in your efforts.

Program listing for Tuesday