AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

Advances in Exoplanet Observing by Amateur Astronomers (Abstract)

Volume 45 number 1 (2017)

Dennis M. Conti
141 E. Bay View Drive, Annapolis, MD 21403; dennis_conti@hotmail.com


(Abstract only) This past year has seen a marked increase in amateur astronomer participation in exoplanet research. This has ranged from amateur astronomers helping professional astronomers confirm candidate exoplanets, to helping refine the ephemeris of known exoplanets. In addition, amateur astronomers have been involved in characterizing such exotic objects as disintegrating planetesimals. However, the involvement in such pro/am collaborations has also required that amateur astronomers follow a more disciplined approach to exoplanet observing. This talk will discuss the results of some of these pro/am collaborations, as well as the evolution of best practices and software tools that have resulted. In addition, it will present recent advances in speckle interferometry, shaped aperture masks, and charge injection devices that may help overcome the seeing, diffraction, and differential magnitude limitations that amateur astronomers face in direct exoplanet imaging. Finally, the status of an AAVSO database for storing exoplanet observations will be presented.