If you are interested in exoplanet observing but have not yet taken Dennis Conti's excellent course, I encourage you to do so!
Next Session: October 1-27 2018
As with all CHOICE courses, instruction is given 100% online. Here is the course description:
This course is designed to provide participants with the basics of how to conduct their own exoplanet observations. With the launch of TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) in April 2018, this course offering is especially timely.
The first half of the course will cover the fundamentals of high precision photometry, as well as the various phases of an exoplanet observation. The second half will review the use of AstroImageJ (AIJ) for image reduction and exoplanet transit modeling. In addition, the future of exoplanet observing using small telescopes will be discussed, as well as ways in which amateur astronomers can contribute to exoplanet research, including contributions to the TESS mission.
The course will use “A Practical Guide to Exoplanet Observing” as its primary text, as well as a set of sample exoplanet observations, both of which can be found at http://astrodennis.com. Video modules will lead participants through each part of the course and participants will be required to take a quiz after each module.
Participants must successfully pass each quiz to successfully pass the course. A private forum will be available to participants in order to communicate with each other, as well as the instructor.
The fee for AAVSO members is $35.00. Non-members pay $60.00. Registrations are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
I will be offering the course again during this coming month of October. The first two weeks of the course will cover the basics of exoplanet observing, and the last two weeks will cover AstroImagJ. In the meantime, however, if you are interested in getting a head start, I invite you to visit my website at http://astrodennis.com, and, in particular, download from the link provided the document "A Practical Guide to Exoplanet Observing." If you are strictly interested in AstroImageJ, Section 7 of the Guide provides a step-by-step approach to using it.
Also, in the meantime, if you have any questions on exoplanet observing, I'd be happy to answer them.
I'm interested in this course but I don't have my own equipment, I use remote telescopes and don't have much control over calibration, filters, binning, etc. Could this be a setback for taking the course?
Not having your own equipment is not necessary to take the course. For example, in the last two weeks of the course, we will be using a sample dataset from an actual exoplanet observation. However, after the course, when you are interested in doing your own observations, access to equipment is necessary. If you only have access to remote equipment and are interested in later doing your own exoplanet observations, check to see how much time you can get allocated per night. Exoplanet observations sometimes require a 4-6 hour block of time.
Hope this helps,
Thanks Dennis, that cleared my doubts. I'm planning to do exoplanet observing but not in a near future, right now I'm interested in learning more about it so I'll join the course on October.