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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[12.02] UV Spectroscopy with Hubble Space Telescope- A Success Story of Pro/Am Collaboration

W.R. Alexander (Marshall University), J.L. Linsky, B.E. Wood (JILA, University of Colorado)

The Hubble Space Telescope amateur program has provided a unique opportunity for amateur astronomers to not only perform research on HST, but to also to interact with many professional astronomers during their research. In particular, a very successful partnership was established between William Alexander (amateur) and Jeff Linsky and Brian Wood (professionals). At the heart of this project was the use of the Goddard High Resolution Spectrograph (GHRS) aboard HST to provide high-resolution UV spectra in the Lyman-alpha region at 1216 angstroms. These spectra were needed to study the Deuterium to Hydrogen (D/H) ratio along the line of sight toward lambda-Andromedae and epsilon-Indi. These measurements were important to more fully understand big bang nucleosynthesis. The amateur, Alexander, was fully involved at each stage of the project, from obtaining all of the raw data to collaborating with Linsky and Wood in the writing of the article that appeared in The Astrophysical Journal (APJ, 470: 1157-1171). This collaboration has shown that amateurs can provide significant “academic” contributions to astronomy. This contribution can be added to the numerous observational contributions that amateurs have made to astronomy through out the centuries.

Funding support was provided by NASA grant GO-0100.01-92A from the Space Telescope Science Institute.

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

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