AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 35 Professional-Amateur Collaboration for Enhanced Research
Topical Session, Tuesday, June 1, 2004, 8:30-10:00am, 10:45am-12:30pm, 710/712

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[35.07] Professional-Amateur Collaboration in Planetary Studies

R. W. Schmude (Gordon College)

Amateur astronomers can now record images with resolutions approaching 0.1 arc-seconds per pixel; this value is about 10 times larger than what the Hubble Space Telescope can do. Nevertheless amateurs have the telescope time to carry out long term studies of the solar system.

Professional and amateur astronomers have carried out two recent collaborative studies. The first study centers around dark and bright ovals on Saturn. Several amateurs in late 2002 imaged at least 3 different oval storms on Saturn. Professional astronomers using both Earth-based equipment and the Hubble Space telescope imaged white spots on Saturn as well. From this collaborative Study, rotation rates were determined for three white ovals in late 2002. At least one more white spot was tracked in late 2003.

A second study was carried out on the evening of Feb. 28-29, 2004. A professional astronomer wanted a series of images of Jupiter taken over a 10 hour period so that a map of that Planet could be constructed. I subsequently sent out the message to amateur astronomers in at least 4 different continents to image Jupiter. All longitudes were covered on Feb. 28-29. The data is currently being analyzed by the professional astronomer.

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