European Planetary Science Congress 2018
16–21 September 2018
TU Berlin | Berlin | Germany


Professional-Amateur collaborations in small bodies, terrestrial, giant, exo planets studies and Juno Ground-Based Support
Convener: Marc Delcroix  | Co-conveners: Harri Haukka , Ricardo Hueso , Padma Yanamandra-Fisher , John Rogers , Leigh Fletcher 
Oral programme
 / Tue, 18 Sep, 16:15–17:45  / Room Mars
Poster programme
 / Attendance Tue, 18 Sep, 18:15–20:00  / Display Tue, 18 Sep, 08:00–20:00  / Poster area
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Amateur astronomy has evolved dramatically over recent years. A motivated amateur, with his/her backyard instrument and available software is nowadays capable of getting high-resolution planetary images in different wavelengths (better than many professional observatories could achieve 15 years ago). Topics well covered by amateur astronomers include: high-resolution imaging of solar system planets, high-precision photometry of stellar occultations by minor objects and giant planets' atmospheres, satellites' mutual phenomena and high-precision photometry of exoplanet transits. Additionally amateurs use dedicated all-sky cameras or radio-antennae to provide continuous meteor-detection coverage of the sky near their location and they start to contribute to spectroscopic studies of solar system objects.

Hundreds of regular observers are sharing their work providing very valuable data to professional astronomers. This is very valuable at a time when professional astronomers face increasing competition accessing observational resources. Additionally, networks of amateur observers can react at very short notice when triggered by a new event occurring on a solar system object requiring observations, or can contribute to a global observation campaign along with professional telescopes.

Moreover, some experienced amateur astronomers use advanced methods for analyzing their data meeting the requirements of professional researchers, thereby facilitating regular and close collaboration with professionals. Often this leads to publication of results in peer-reviewed scientific journals. Examples include planetary meteorology of Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune or Venus; meteoroid or bolide impacts on Jupiter; asteroid studies, cometary or exoplanet research.

Additionaly, since July 2016, the NASA spacecraft Juno explores Jupiter's inner structure from a series of long elliptical orbits with close flybies of the planet. To understand the atmospheric dynamics of the planet at the time of Juno, NASA collaborates with amateur astronomers observing the Giant Planet. The collaborative effort between Juno and amateurs is linked to the visual camera onboard Juno: JunoCam. Juno showcases an exciting opportunity for amateurs to provide an unique dataset that is used to plan the high-resolution observations from JunoCam and that advances our knowledge of the atmospheric dynamics of the Giant planet Jupiter. Contribution of amateurs range from their own images to Junocam iumages processing and support on selecting by vote the feature to be observed during the flybies.

This session will showcase results from amateur astronomers, working either by themselves or in collaboration with members of the professional community. In addition, members from both communities will be invited to share their experiences of pro-am partnerships and offer suggestions on how these should evolve in the future.
Oral and poster presentations are welcome.