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Congratulations to Mike Foylan

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9 years 5 months ago #102599 by eansbro
Congratulations to Mike Foylan was created by eansbro
Well done Mike on your published paper in the Minor Planet Bulletin Jan 2015.

In particular, the light curve and rotation period determination for minor planet Kawasato.
There seems to be very little information on this Mars crossing planet.
I read you determined a nearly 4.5 day rotation period.
Even more encouraging you used an 8 inch telescope.
Keep up the good work.

Eamonn
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9 years 5 months ago #102603 by dmcdona
Replied by dmcdona on topic Congratulations to Mike Foylan
Mike - that is a substantial amount of work and must have required a huge effort. Well done indeed.
Dave
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9 years 5 months ago #102606 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic Congratulations to Mike Foylan
Nice work Mike!
Good to see the benefits of collaboration too.

I see an interesting article in the same MPB on how the number of asteroid light curves has rocketed over the past few years. Shows the work that amateurs can do.
Clear Skies,
Michael.
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9 years 5 months ago #102608 by Mike
Replied by Mike on topic Congratulations to Mike Foylan
Thanks guys
It’s proved to be very satisfying work undertaking asteroid photometry, especially asteroids where little is known about them and then having the results published in the prestigious Minor Planet Bulletin. I would like to thank my co-author; Mr. Fabio Salvaggio, an amateur astronomer form Italy. Collaborative work in this area really makes all the difference.

The only other Irish amateur astronomer that I am aware of that has published results in this area is Mr. Dave McDonald of Celbridge Observatory (J65), I am sure that Dave would agree with me that we would like to see more of this work by others here as would the Minor Planet Bulletin.

My thinking is that there are lots of amateur astronomers in Ireland that could undertake such work, I have no doubt that many have the equipment to start immediately if they wished to, one can learn along the way. The relatively easy part is planning your target asteroid/s based upon a number of important factors. Then the actual observations can begin which will no doubt take up most of your observing time over a time span of days to perhaps weeks. Then the processing and data analysis can begin with the results structured in a presentable way for publication (also takes a lot of your free time), is it worth it, yes for sure!

A free copy of the latest edition (42-1) of the Minor Planet Bulletin (MPB) can be found here; www.minorplanet.info/mpbdownloads.html
Interestingly two professional observatories have also published their work in the latest edition of the MPB on 4910 Kawasato, with the Center for Solar System Studies in the USA obtaining the same results as us.

Best wishes and clear skies
Mike

I83 Cherryvalley Observatory

After one look at this planet any visitor from outer space would say; "I WANT TO SEE THE MANAGER".
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9 years 5 months ago #102613 by dmcdona
Replied by dmcdona on topic Congratulations to Mike Foylan
With the advent of a variety of well financed* programmes to mop up the brighter (smaller) asteroids out there, the amateur who wishes to participate and generate data of scientific quality has to turn their hand to other endeavours.

Photometry is one such field where the dataset is very small and any data gathered to add to it is very well received. The fact that the MPB is held in such high regard by the professional sector is evidence enough. As a slight aside, the MPB itself resulted from the incredible hard work and dedication of amateur astronomers - something that of itself should not be forgotten.

Anyone contemplating walking the path towards having a paper published in the MPB can be rest assured that there is plenty of help from right here on these boards and within the Irish astronomy community. And no, you do not need to have the brain of Stephen Hawking nor equipment that costs a year's salary. There are plenty of bright asteroids out there that can be studied by a rig of modest proportions.

Once you have that, all you need is dedication and patience. And as Mike says, the rewards are very satisfying - knowing that you are contributing to science and adding to the dataset does generate real pride and a very tangible achievement (your results will live on for ever more).

If you have a notion of following in the footsteps of other photometrists, you won't be walking alone - as frequently demonstrated on these boards, there are people here who will help you any and all ways possible. And as both Mike and I have done, photometry is a field where collaboration is not only encouraged but is usually required to nail certain periods. But that, if anything, enhances the achievement because of the team effort.

What are you waiting for? Just do it.

Dave

p.s. as much as I would wish to continue to contribute as much as I have in the past, the last couple of years have dealt a few bouncers that have seriously curtailed any opportunity of doing so. But I'll continue to hope that some day (soon) I might get J65 (or another observatory) up and running again. Until then, I'll have to be satisfied with lurking :-)


* Substantially more resources (money) than pretty much any amateur can get their hands on without winning the Euromillions etc.

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9 years 5 months ago #102626 by eansbro
Replied by eansbro on topic Congratulations to Mike Foylan
mike,

I've just finished reading "asteroids and dwarf planets" by Roger Dymock". It's the best book I've come across on an easy doable hands on to practical photometry on asteroids. I was amazed that you could use telescopes as small 4 inch Newtonians to carry out photometry. He has used DSLR cameras on small telescopes and got scientific data. He'es basically saying that anybody can contribute to science.
There must be an enormous amount of members on this forum that could easily do this observing.

Eamonn
Atlantic Airport, Georgia

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