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Roman Reyes
Roman Reyes

Amateurs Exotic |LINK|

The field is wide open for the serious amateur since scientists at big mountaintop telescopes tend to study more-exotic cosmic quarry such as quasars, distant galaxies, and black holes. And the few observation programs dedicated to near-Earth asteroids often are intent on surveying the skies for new ones in an attempt to better quantify the potential threat.

amateurs exotic

Di Cicco attributes this to a tendency among American amateurs to view astronomy as a recreational activity - one fueled by an abundance of relatively affordable equipment. "I hear complaints from people overseas saying that Americans are a hardware-rich group of amateurs, but they don't do a lot of heavy-duty science."

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From the rattlesnakes of North America's Mojave Desert to the spiny-tailed lizards that live in Bahrain, husband- and-wife wildlife enthusiasts Christopher and Marion Cornes spent nearly six decades documenting exotic species around the world. Now Mrs Cornes's dying wish to donate the couple's work to the nation has come true.

The comparison, along with many others, was placed on the citizen science portal Zooniverse, where three amateurs marked it as a likely supernova. SkyMapper followed up and confirmed that not only is the light a supernova, but it is just the sort they were looking for, all with the speed needed to properly track the star's decline.

The detections represent a new twist in the path of supernova discovery. Not long ago most of these giant explosions were found by amateurs. Then big search projects like SkyMapper superseded them, until the realization came that more data was being produced than the professionals could handle.

Many tree species that may have been present in the historic landscape are no longer considered appropriate due to environmental changes and the emergence of exotic invasive species. In such cases, alternatives are selected that reflect the similar texture or habit of Olmsted's plan.

I've got a new column in the Planetary Society's member magazine, The Planetary Report, called "Snapshots from Space." In each issue I'll be highlighting one really cool amateur-processed image. I'm excited to have the opportunity to help these people get their work published! (And if you'd like to see amateurs' work in print, as well as read feature articles about space exploration like this month's by Marc Buie about mapping Pluto using Hubble, join the Planetary Society to start receiving The Planetary Report!)

2. What are your goals with these images -- what drives you to spend your time doing this work? I'm not sure I really know - astronomy and especially the solar system is just something I've been interested in since I was a kid. Sometimes I simply want to know what these exotic places look like. In some cases it's the desire to bring something new or interesting out of old (or even recent) data. In many cases a combination of these.

In the 17th century, an interest in flora and fauna, both local and exotic, in the Netherlands led to vast collections of insects, plants, and animals among academics and amateurs. Artists such as Johannes Bronckhorst became specialists at recording these collections in paint, to be kept in portfolios and shown to visitors. The grouping of insects on this sheet suggest that Bronckhorst had access to a varied collection, and include a cicada, a cereal-leaf beetle, a harlequin ladybird, a spiny orb-weaver spider, two Asian longhorn beetles, a red rhinoceros beetle, a rosemary beetle, and a stick insect. With great attention to detail, Bronckhorst may have selected this particular assembly with no other intent than to create a balanced and colorful composition. 041b061a72


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