AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

The Crucial Role of Amateur-Professional Networks in the Golden Age of Large Surveys (Abstract)

Volume 45 number 1 (2017)

Joseph E. Rodriguez
Vanderbilt Astronomy Group, Physics and Astronomy Department, Vanderbilt University, 6301 Stevenson Center, Nashville, TN 37235; rodriguez.jr.joey@gmail.com


(Abstract only) With ongoing projects such as HATNet, SuperWASP, KELT, MEarth, and the CoRoT and Kepler/K2 mission, we are in a golden era of large photometric surveys. In addition, LSST and TESS will be coming online in the next three to five years. The combination of all these projects will increased the number of photometrically monitored stars by orders of magnitude. It is expected that these surveys will enhance our knowledge of circumstellar architecture and the early stages of stellar and planetary formation, while providing a better understanding of exoplanet demographics. However, the success of these surveys will be dependent on simultaneous and continued follow up by large networks. With federal scientific funding reduced over the past few years, the availability of astronomical observations has been directly affected. Fortunately, ground based amateur-professional networks like the AAVSO and the KELT Follow-up Network (KELT-FUN) are already providing access to an international, independent resource for professional grade astronomical observations. These networks have both multi-band photometric and spectroscopic capabilities. I provide an overview of the ongoing and future surveys, highlight past and current contributions by amateur-professional networks to scientific discovery, and discuss the role of these networks in upcoming projects.