Amateur workshops at EPSC2020
October 1, 2020

Amateur workshops at EPSC2020

An amateur workshop was initially planned for the Observatory Pic du Midi in summer 2020 under Europlanet 2024 RI’s NA2 activity but was postponed due to Covid-19. However, three virtual splinter meetings for amateurs were organised during EPSC2020 with a total number of about 160 live participants and over 375 video views: 

Juno Ground-Based Support from Amateur Astronomers, 21 September 2020

Splinter SMW2 Juno Ground-based Support from Amateurs from Europlanet Society on Vimeo.

The Juno mission orbits Jupiter since 2016. Its JunoCam instrument is providing the highest resolution images of the planet ever obtained. To understand the temporal and spatial context of these images and the details of Jovian meteorology Juno relies on a global ground-support from professional and amateur astronomers. This collaboration has proven essential to the interpretation of this outstanding data. Amateur astronomers provide images that are used to plan the high-resolution observations from JunoCam and citizen scientists process many of the astonishing high-resolution images obtained by JunoCam contributing to the success of the mission.

The splinter contains talks, questions and a short round-table at the end and is open to Juno scientists, amateur astronomers and citizen scientists collaborating with the Juno mission.

Speakers:

– Jupiter image processing. Christopher Go
– Recent meteorological events on Jupiter. John H. Rogers (BAA)
– The Juno mission. Glenn. S. Orton (JPL)
– JunoCam on Juno. Candice. Hansen (PSI)
– Junocam image processing. Kevin M. Gill
– The value of long-term Jupiter data. Arrate Antunano (Leicester University)

The Ariel mission for exoplanets and support from amateurs, 28 September 2020

More than 4000 exoplanets have been discovered so far, and this number is still growing rapidly! However, we know very little about them: What are they made of? What are the conditions there? How did they form and how did they evolve? ESA’s M4 mission, Ariel, will observe spectroscopically around 1000 exoplanets to further characterise their atmospheres and try to answer these questions.
Exoplanets is one of the few fields that amateur astronomers and the public can contribute significantly, with observations with small and medium scale telescopes. I the case of Ariel, small and medium size telescope are valuable, in order to plan the observations as efficiently as possible. To achieve this, a good knowledge of the planets’ ephemerides is needed before the launch of Ariel in 2028. While ephemerides for some planets are being refined on a per-case basis, an organised effort to collectively verify or update them when necessary does not exist.

In this session, we will present the Ariel mission and will introduce the ExoClock project, an open, integrated and interactive platform with the purpose of producing a confirmed list of ephemerides for the planets that will be observed by Ariel. The project has been developed in a manner to make the best use of all available resources: observations reported in the literature, observations from space instruments and, mainly, observations from ground-based telescopes, including both professional and amateur observatories. To facilitate inexperienced observers and at the same time achieve homogeneity in the results, we created data collection and validation protocols, educational material and easy to use interfaces, open to everyone. ExoClock was launched in September 2019 and now counts over 160 participants, mostly amateur astronomers, who’ve already observed 1200 transits for 170 exoplanets.

The session will start with Giovanna Tinetti from UCL, the Principal Investigator of the Ariel Mission, who will present the concept and the goals of the mission and will continue with Athanasia Nikolaou from Sapienza who will present the prospects of Ariel for small planets. Next, Anastasia Kokori from UCL, coordinator of the ExoClock project, will share the scope and the principals of the ExoClock Project, while Martin Crow, an active ExoClock observer form the British Astronomical Association, will share his experience from observing exoplanets and participating to ExoClock. Finally, Angelos Tsiaras from UCL, coordinator of the ExoClock project, will demonstrate how to analyse exoplanet observations with the dedicated, user-friendly tools developed for the project.

The ExoClock project website: www.exoclock.space

Educational material can be found at: www.exoworldsspies.com 

Programme:

  • The Ariel mission. Giovanna Tinetti 
  • Planetary Perspectives of Ariel: Looking at the tree and adding the forest. Athanasia Nikolaou
  • The ExoClock project: How amateurs can contribute to Ariel. Anastasia Kokori. 
  • Experiencing ExoClock with an active participant. Martin Crow
  • Analysing exoplanet observations. Angelos Tsiaras

The Europlanet Telescope Network, 30 September 2020

As part of the recently launched Europlanet 2024 Research Infrastructure, a new collaboration between telescopes around the world has been started for providing coordinated observations and rapid responses in support of space missions and in following-up of new events. The so-called Europlanet Telescope Network (bit.ly/37SCiyj) will thereby provide professional scientists and amateur astronomers with access to an initial set of 16 telescope facilities. Scientists and amateurs can now apply to visit those facilities (see website: bit.ly/2Br5LDt). The Europlanet Telescope Network further plans to support the integration of amateur astronomers into planetary sciences, since their observations can be of crucial importance for several scientific areas. 

This Splinter Meeting gave an overview on the network, the involved telescope facilities, and opportunities for support for amateur astronomers in Europe and beyond.

Program of the meeting:
– Introduction to the Europlanet Telescope Network (Scherf, M)
– Overview of the telescope facilities (Tautvaisiene, G)
– How to apply to the Call (Snodgrass, C)
– Europlanet support to amateur astronomy campaigns on Solar System astronomy (Hueso, R)
– Telescope showcase: The Robotic Faulkes Telescope Network (Lewis, F)
– GaiaGOSA and the planned observational alert website (Podlewska-Gaca, E; Dudzinski, G)
– Discussion

The presentations from the meeting can now be found online.

 Europlanet 2024 RI has supported the SuperLuna! campaign. Europlanet 2024 RI has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 871149.

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