For the experienced amateur astronomer who is wondering if there is something useful, valuable, and permanent that can be done with his or her observational skills, the answer is, "Yes, you can!" This is the book for the experienced amateur astronomer who is ready to take a new step in his or her astronomical journey. Unfortunately, there is no modern text that points curious amateur astronomers to the research possibilities that are open to them. At the 2006 meeting of the Society for Astronomical Sciences, quite a few participants agreed that the lack of such a text was a serious gap in the astronomical book market, and that this gap is impeding their efforts to encourage more amateur astronomers to get involved in research collaborations. This book will fill that gap, and enable more amateur astronomers to add research-type studies to their pursuit of the hobby.
Written by an astronomer who is well known amongst the amateur and professional community for the skill and quality of his work, this book describes a wide range of research areas where amateurs are gathering new scientific data that is utilized by professional astronomers. For each research area, the book provides a concise explanation of the purpose and value of the amateurs’ observations, a description of the equipment that is needed, specific observing procedures, complete data reduction instructions, and an explanation of how, and where, to submit results so that they will be available to the professional users.