“Be a citizen scientist – How amateur astronomers contribute to science”, Mon 11 Sept 2023

A Cork Astronomy Club public lecture held in UCC’s Ashley Cummins Building

Not all science is done by scientists.  Amateur astronomers have made significant contributions to measuring light pollution and identifying best and worst localities, yielding results that sometimes contradict satellite data.  The science of Jupiter’s atmosphere has advanced as far as it has in large part by professional scientists having access to images uploaded by amateur observers to special websites.   

Outreach Officer at MTU’s Blackrock Castle Observatory, Frances McCarthy is one of our Club’s favourite speakers. We learnt about a wide variety of opportunities for amateur astronomers to make their mark,  with different sponsors, amongst them Exoplanet Watch, EU-Citizen.Science, Globe At Night, NASA citizen science, The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO).  

And Frances revealed the first citizen science project – Haleys’5 1715 eclipse map, shown below with Frances inset. Halley made the map with help of a numerous crew of observers assembled by the following appeal: “A Request to the Curious to observe what they could about it, but more especially to note the Time of Continuance of total Darkness …”  More about this here: “How Edmond Halley kicked off the golden age of eclipse mapping” 

Frances McCarthy with Halley’s map of the 1715 eclipse

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