A lot of very successful Supernova search programs work as individual projects. But I have found in my case that working with a group works well for a number of reasons. Most of all it is fun to work together and helping with discoveries. A great advantage is that we have access to a large amount of telescopes to help with confirmation images. So If I am clouded out one of the other members might have clear skies. Also a great advantage is that it speeds up the reporting process which is key in our type of work. Overall the main objective we wanted to achieve was to provide as accurate measurements as possible for the professional Astronomers who study these events after we have discovered them. Thereby obtaining a reputation as a source of reliable data.
It wasn't long after I got to know Peter, Greg, and Colin that we soon had a few discoveries under our belts. Peter had already called his search the Backyard Observatory Supernova Search. In 2009 Peter and I decided to make things a little more formal and BOSS became the group name to acknowledge the excellent background work that all the members contribute to when a discovery is made. Whether it be checking each others images or double checking the data to the actual reporting, we maintain stringent checks through the whole process but still manage to keep things enjoyable and we have become lifelong friends along the way. Even though we all would have our own search programs it was agreed when it comes time to report a discovery the discoverer would get their name first followed by the BOSS banner.
Above is a picture of the group taken when we all got together for the first time in December 2009 for our first meeting.
So in Summary:
We all have our own setups here is a list of what we all have:
Greg Bock – 14” LX200R on a G11, SBIG ST10XE
Started visually searching in early 1990’s with a 12” Newtonian
Started CCD searches in 2001 (none in 2008, 2009) – 10” Meade, SX MX516
2 discoveries to date in 8 years – SN2011gv, and SN2011jp.
Images taken – Since March 2004, estimated over 45,000, of which 16,120 are SN
search images with 10” , 12” and 14” scopes. Can image and blink 150 to 200 per night.
Why - provide input to the professional science, chose an engineering career
instead of a professional astronomy career.
Peter Marples – 12” LX200R, Starlight Xpress SXVH9
Started visually searching in mid to late 1990’s
Started CCD searches in 2006,
4 discoveries since 2008 - SN2008fa, then SN2009J, SN2009gd, and SN2012U
Why – inspired by Gregg Thompson’s Supernova Search Charts and Bob Evans success.
Number of images taken – 21,000 x 30 second images since 2006.
Stuart Parker (New Zealand) – Celestron 14” on a Paramount ME, ST10XME
Started CCD searches in early 2000’s, but seriously commenced in June 2009
24 discoveries to date, first one was SN2009gj in NGC134 during dinner with Greg
and Pat in Christchurch while the scope patrolled automatically.
Can image 3000 - 4000 galaxies per month, and over 1300 per night!
Why - inspired by Gregg Thompson’s book, have input into professional science.
Colin Drescher – Uses SLOOH on-line remote telescopes in Canary Islands
Became interested in supernovae in 2006.
Has provided astrometric data for 24 reports to CBAT
Commenced checking for SN in Slooh images in 2008
No discoveries to date
Why - Inspired to check all galaxies imaged by Slooh after SN2008in in M61 was
found independently by other users after discovery.
Brendan Downs - 14”LX200ACF on a Paramount ME, SBIG ST8
Started around 1994 as an imaging exercise with an ST-4 and Celestron C8.
Seriously started in 1995 with a ST-7 and 12inch LX200.
2 discoveries, SN1997de and SN2010dc
Why - wanted more than just looking. Can look at M42 only so much.
Number of images taken – not sure, but can average 40 x 60 sec shots per hour.
Best effort has 280 images in one session.
Pat Pearl – 10” Meade LX200R, Starlight Xpress SXVM7
Has been meticulously visually observing galaxies with a 12” Newtonian for 10 years at Leyburn.
Has only recently developed his imaging system for use at home in Brisbane
A very active work life and family commitments limits his ability to conduct his
own search program for now,
Why – just fascinated by galaxies, would like to have input into professional
science, inspired years ago by Greg and Peter!.