So, just another brief update on whats been happening recently;
Following a number of problems over quite a long period of time, we will be removing the tracking motors from the Fullerscope's mount, and AWR (the manufacturer) are going to do some modifications to them such that the current "RA Slip" is resolved. This should hopefully mean that the scope slews completely accurately over large areas of the sky, and we can better utilize the intelligent handset. This pretty simple thing is unimaginably vital to the operation of the telescope, both for research purposes and for outreach.
The telescope is so vast that its really tricky to keep getting up to the eyepiece to verify the object is in the eyepiece and re-shuffling when its not. So this is a great piece of work.
Last night we were joined up at the observatory by a small group of friends for a casual "show & tell" observation evening, which I am pleased to say was very well received. It also helped that we were blessed with amazingly clear skies!
Once we had completed the show and tell, we managed to collect some image data of Regulus.
We are still finding our feet with imaging so we are trying to practice as much as possible on random targets, such that when we get a good long clear night, we can collect some data from our target variable (This is for our verification for KELT).
Having calibrated and processed the data, we were able to achieve images with a precision of 1/1000th of a magnitude. This is a great achievement, and is very promising for our future project.
Images from the Observing Session
Image Credit - Hollie Stickland
A lot has been happening since my last project update. So I thought I should probably write a brief update of events.
Since the last update we have managed to figure out how to use the telescopes "intelligent handset". This is the unit which controls the scopes motors, the same as most telescopes today have go-to handsets. I was very surprised that this particular handset is far easier to use than even my own skywatcher go-to unit.
The next major developments are the contacts we are making, AND the potential collaboration with the KELT-North project. This is a project which is being run by academics, students and amateurs from Ohio State University & Vanderbilt University in the US.
In my correspondences with Professor Kievan Stassun (Vanderbilt) and Professor Joshua Pepper (Lehigh University) we have agreed that Charterhouse will produce a lightcuve for a variable star, to assess our instrumental precision. This is going to make up the bulk of our work for the coming month (assuming we have some clear skies!)
I was pointed in the direction of these guys by Dr David Charbonneau who is a professor at Harvard, and an astronomer at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics. He has written a lot of papers on Exoplanets, that have made up the bulk of the research material I have read for background.
My third contact who has kindly offered to set us up with a number of his academic colleagues is Paul Wilson (Exeter University). He has kindly offered to liaise with us regarding some other projects he has in the pipeline.
I Would like to thank the people mentioned above, for assisting us with this project, and I hope this is the start of an interesting research life for the observatory.