By Brian Warner

Tools for newbie astronomers who desire to transcend CCD imaging and step into ‘serious’ technological know-how. The textual content deals thoughts for collecting, studying, and publishing facts, and describes joint tasks within which amateurs and scholars can participate. Readers learn how to realize and stay away from universal error in amassing photometry information, with particular examples for research. comprises stories of accessible software program, with reveal pictures and worthwhile tips.

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Extra resources for A Practical Guide to Lightcurve Photometry and Analysis (Patrick Moore's Practical Astronomy Series)

Example text

Inside the box are dim lights that evenly illuminate a sheet of uniform diffuse plastic. You can find several examples by doing a Google search on the Internet. The AIP book by Berry and Burnell also has a good discussion about light boxes and details for building one. This idea works best for smaller scopes. It’s hard to hang a light box on the front of a 1-meter telescope. Again, the source of light is critical. Do not use white LEDs for your illumination source. They are highly deficient in some colors and excessive in others.

Second-order extinction is dependent on the color of the object and the air mass at which it’s being measured. As the object moves towards the horizon, the blue portion of its light is “dimmed” more rapidly than the red portion. Therefore, to compute the true exoatmospheric magnitude of the star correctly – the magnitude as seen outside the Earth’s atmosphere – one must also determine and apply the second-order extinction. Second-order extinction is defined as units of magnitudes/air mass/unit of color index.

If you are doing differential photometry, even if filtered, be sure to record which comparison stars you used. This allows a reduction of the data to a standard system once those comparisons are calibrated. You need to get at least a few measurements in two standard colors since a true transformation to a standard system is not possible without a color index on the target and comparisons. Many observers use only a V filter; that’s fine as long as the target doesn’t change color. In that case, a simple offset can be applied to each observer’s data – assuming that the same comparison stars are used and the filter puts the overall system reasonably close to the standard.

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