Minor Planet Bulletin publication

7 years 6 months ago - 7 years 6 months ago #94320 by dmcdona
Minor Planet Bulletin publication was created by dmcdona
Folks, for your interest, I have two papers published in the latest issue of the Minor Planet Bulletin.

One paper was a joint venture with an Astronomer on the East coast of the US. The second was all my own work.

The download page is here: www.minorplanet.info/mpbdownloads.html

and you're looking to download issue 39-3 (2012 Jul-Sep).

The two papers are together and on pages 5 and 6 of the PDF (issue pages 104 an 105).


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7 years 6 months ago #94321 by mjc
Replied by mjc on topic Minor Planet Bulletin publication

Good to publish - language was good - references given - format sound.

I very much hope that more quality material is published by the amateur community in established reference sites/journals/etc that is appropriate for getting picked up by searches in academic tools such as the Astrophysics Data System. We're limited in what we have access to (for publishing).

I hope you get more adventurous in this vein - and success in doing so.

Mark C.

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7 years 6 months ago #94323 by eansbro
Replied by eansbro on topic Minor Planet Bulletin publication
Well done Dave!

Interesting papers.

Did you find MPO Canopus to be a user friendly programme?

I noticed that Petrovic was observed by Angel and Barucci 16 years ago. Has it been out of magnitude range for photometry ever since then, or is it the case that there are numerous asteroids with too few observers to carry out photometry ?

Has Aethra had any other photometric correlations? ie.references.

Do you plan to be adventurous and do some colour photometry in any of the UBVRI bands?

Have you any other asteroids in the future pipeline?


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7 years 6 months ago #94324 by Mike
Replied by Mike on topic Minor Planet Bulletin publication
Hi Dave, firstly well done on this fine achievement and due recognition thereof for what I am sure is your many hours of processing, researching and observations. It’s also really great to see collaboration work with other astronomers from far off lands, astronomy really is universal (pardon the pun) in its appeal both as a hobby and as a valuable scientific tool where contributions such as yours Dave really counts.
It is my opinion that Ireland has a wealth of knowledgeable amateur astronomers with already “good enough” gear in place that could if they so wished obtain an observatory code, continue to submit high quality astrometry to the MPC, carry out important asteroid photometry work and publish results as you have just done Dave, this goes to show that dedicated Irish amateur astronomers can achieve excellent results when such an effort is made. Looking forward Dave to more of your fine work in the future.

Hi Eamonn,
As far as I know there are approximately 4000 asteroids with published period & amplitude parameters (with varying quality ratings) therefore there are massive gaps in our knowledge of the remaining 500,000 or so minor planets. Professional astronomers are really crying out for more amateurs to work in this area.

Best wishes and clear skies

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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7 years 6 months ago #94327 by michaeloconnell
Replied by michaeloconnell on topic Minor Planet Bulletin publication
Nice work Dave.
This kind of work should be within the reach of many of us here.

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7 years 6 months ago - 7 years 6 months ago #94328 by dmcdona
Replied by dmcdona on topic Minor Planet Bulletin publication
Mark: it was my initial foray into the field but that particularly journey started in the 2000's - so it took a while. It's a long long time since I wrote any kind of formal paper and the first time I've written one that was to be published in a peer reviewed journal. So I decided to keep both the subject and the paper itself very simple to minimise any mistakes. If you read through the entire issue, you'll get a sense of what the old-timers (in the best possible sense) are churning out in terms of complexity and productivity. If I can be half as productive as they, I'd be very happy. Of course, they also get better weather than us... But I have to say that within the amateur photometry field, the support and encouragement is fantastic. And the support and encouragement from folks frequenting these boards - you know who you are - has been immense. So it ended up being a relatively painless (but long) exercise.

Eamonn: Canopus does have a relatively steep learning curve - not because it is a difficult piece of software, but because it does stuff we don't normally do. However, once I iterated through a few lightcurves, I found it easy to use. If anyone remembers the first time they used Astrometrica, you get the idea. I'd would also point out that Canopus is a) very reasonably priced and more importantly b) the support is excellent from Brian D. Warner, the author. I owe him a lot of thanks for not only his software support but his general encouragement in publishing.

As regards photometry in general, its true that there aren't many people doing this kind of work and so there are plenty of targets to choose from. But there is also the element of timing measurements when asteroids are positioned favourably and are at the brightest. Aethra has been well studied - hence the reason I chose it - if I got a completely different period than published data (referenced in the paper), I knew I was doing something fundamentally wrong. Thankfully, I was bang on the money and proved that I could do photometry.

I have already submitted data to Richard Miles of the BAA - v observations of (379) Huenna. There were a good few other collaborators too (the asteroid was at a very low phase angle hence the interest) but I'm not sure when/if the data will be published. To be honest, my data wasn't great - SNR was too low really but it was a pretty faint target (mag 16 or so).

As for other targets - hell yes! 500,000 to choose from as Mike says! All we need is the weather (and the autumn).

Mike - I know you have been doing sterling work in this field too and that will bear well deserved fruit. So you know that the time investment is significant. And yes - the collaboration was especially pleasing - particularly as I only submitted the data to Caroline and she wrote the whole paper :-) But that collaboration is what I would like to do with your good self and anyone else here who might be interested.

As both yourself and Michael point out, there are a few folks here who I know for sure *could* do photometry and publish much needed data. Yes, it requires significant time investment but I would be more than happy to help anyone out and reduce that learning curve for them. But that initial commitment is a tough call and probably the a difficult decision to make.

For example, I reckon the work I put into my own individual paper was upwards of 20 times the time invested in getting the observatory code. To get astrometric data of a few asteroids over a couple of nights is simple (if you know how of course). But imagine turning your scope to an asteroid for 5 solid nights (8hrs each) - which may be spread over 2 or 3 weeks, generating 2000 images, visually analysing each image to identify which ones to chuck, loading 800 flat fielded and dark subtracted images into Canopus, choosing comparison stars, flipping images, chuckimg more data points out, then spending another 10 hours agonising if you can see a curve or not... I won't go on. It does get easier though.

And don't forget, my collection of (132) Aethra data led to the eclipsing binary discovery - there are nice side effects too...

This is pretty long winded - apologies.

I've said it before, I'll say it again and I'll continue to say it. I got to the stage of publishing a paper with a lot of help, encouragement and support from folks on these boards and others in the Irish amateur community. You all know who you are. This could not have been achieved without your help. Thank you.

In return, I will offer my support, encouragement and assistance to anyone prepared to make the decision and try out asteroid photometry.


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7 years 6 months ago #94341 by DaveGrennan
Replied by DaveGrennan on topic Minor Planet Bulletin publication
Congrats Dave on this wonderful achievement. To have ones work published in a respected peer reviewed publication such as the Minor Planet Bulletin is just reward for all of the work and time you have invested to date. I look forward to this being the first of many such publications from you and other irish amateurs.


Regards and Clear Skies,

J41 - Raheny Observatory.
Equipment List here

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