Amateur astronomers. Note that the guys doing the occultation timing are using 14" SCT telescopes like this one and then add in 3-5K for a mount and in some cases 2-3K more for the camera. The benefit is that amateurs are now buying gear that once was only used in College observatories and required committees to approve observing time. Now 5-6 eager people with "pro-am" gear can go mobile, get data and get written up in a scientific paper. And that is exciting as hell to me.

The next several transits of this body are all next year and a few of them are going to be visible in the USA. Hell, I might try to get in on the action if I have my new camera by then. The one bummer is that the telescope MUST have a GPS on it, and for my imaging mounts that is going to be 200-300 bux more.

Amateurs are also taking part in the Eclipse Mega-Movie where the goal is going to be to get a 90 minute movie of the sun's atmosphere right at the edge of the visible disk, something they cannot really due with spacecraft.

posted by francopoli: 344 days ago