AN EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM OF THE EARTHRISE INSTITUTE
|From 2007 to 2012 the Earthrise Institute conducted an educational program entitled "Countdown to 500 Comets," wherein we invited sky-watchers and astronomy students from around the world to join with me as I continued my quest to observe (visually) my 500th comet. I began "Countdown" after adding my 400th comet, and with the addition of each new comet to my lifetime tally I added a writeup about it, and encouraged observations (both visual, and imaging) of it. I also included an "update page" (updated on an approximately weekly basis) that listed where in the sky the comets on my tally were located at the time in question, and discussed their recent brightness behavior and appearance.
I added my 500th comet, and thus completed "Countdown," in early 2012. Since that time I have continued to observe comets, and to add new ones to my tally, and I expect to continue doing so for at least the near-term foreseeable future. As I re-engage Earthrise I have decided that, while I will not have a formal specific comet-dedicated program in the vein of "Countdown," I will nevertheless continue to share my progress on observing comets with those sky-watchers and students who are interested. Via the links to the right, which I will update as necessary, I will describe the comets that I continue to observe, as well as provide information about the location and behavior of currently observable comets and about forthcoming comets that are worthy of attention. For those who are interested, I have also compiled a statistical analysis of the first 500 comets on my lifetime tally.
For the time being, the comet observations discussed via this page will continue to be visual. However, here at Earthrise we are becoming engaged in a couple of potential projects that, as they come to fruition, should allow the capability for students to image these (and other) comets remotely. We are also planning the development of a curriculum that will contain, in part, comets and their role in the overall astronomical scheme of things, and the observation of these comets will be built into that curriculum.
In addition to the pertinent links to "Counting Comets" and to "Countdown," the list at the right provides links to various sites and services that should be of interest and use to potential comet observers. With rare exceptions the comets discovered by SOHO and STEREO do not usually become visible from the ground, however these links are still provided for those who might be interested in these objects. The link to the Digitized Sky Survey is provided for those comet observers who might be interested in observing or imaging the dimmer comets.
|"Counting Comets" links
Statistical analysis (comets 1-500)
Basic information on observing comets
Minor Planet Center
International Comet Quarterly
SOHO comet web site