Contributing Real Results to the Astronomical Community
Welcome to our Science Pages. In this section you will read about the work we are undertaking at the observatory which is of scientific value. Generally in these circumstances the results are provided to national or international institutions and where our observations contribute to a greater body of scientific knowledge.
In some of the examples described below you will find that we are working with students of University of Portsmouth where those observations contribute not only to those national and international databases but are also used by the students for their final degree dissertation.
It is recognised that the in the field of astronomy, the amateur astronomer can make significant contributions to the body of scientific knowledge. There are many examples where amateur astronomers, by virtue of the many hours vigil at the telescope, have made important discoveries of astronomical objects such as comets, asteroids and exploding stars.
The word ‘amateur’ can have a connotation in everyday language of meaning poor quality. However the Oxford English Dictionary definition states an amateur is ‘one who practices as a past-time’, other definitions emphasise the ‘unpaid nature’ of an activity. Around the world there are literally thousands of amateur astronomical societies and associations with possibly millions of members undertaking their hobby of astronomy as a past-time and unpaid.
However, of those millions there are a number of amateur astronomers who make their observations with a high degree of skill and accuracy. It is also acknowledged they are able to undertake a number of scientific programmes which, for a variety of reasons, the professional astronomers and observatories around the world cannot undertake.
This may be due to the lack of resources, telescope time at major observatories or by virtue of the long period of time that some observation programmes require. There is now acknowledgement amongst the professional astronomical community that amateurs can and do provide the high quality data required for a number of research programmes. Such work is coined ‘pro-am collaboration’.
We hope that by seeing some of the astronomical programmes that are undertaken at the Clanfield Observatory we will whet appetites to come and observe and participate in the observing activities at the Observatory.
We regularly provide follow up confirmation observations of Supernova and provide magnitude and positional data for the discovery records.
A University of Portsmouth project in association with HAG to monitor and record the eclipse of Epsilon Aurigae.
We have discovered the presence of asteroids as they travel through our Solar System.
We have cameras pointing at the night sky that capture black and white videos of meteors.
We analyse these videos and share the data with other similar groups around the UK and Europe, and together we can determine their precise orbits.
A University of Portsmouth project in association with HAG to measure the light curves of recently discovered exoplanets and determine their orbital periods.
A highly active campaign we are involved in to inform people about the problems of light pollution and how they can potentially save money by solving it.
A project to observe and record comets.