Dr Dirk Froebrich from the University of Kent has been running the HOYS-CAPS citizen science project since October 2014. HOYS-CAPS stands for Hunting Outbursting Young Stars with the Centre of Astrophysics and Planetary Science. The aim of the project is long term, multi-filter optical photometric monitoring of young (age less than 10Myr), nearby (distances typically within 1kpc) star clusters or star forming regions visible from the northern hemisphere.
The project currently involves about 10 amateur astronomers from the UK, as well as from Europe and is supported by some additional professional observatories. The participants take images of objects on their target list, perform a basic data reduction (flat-fielding and dark/bias correction) and submit these reduced images for inclusion into their database via a newly developed web-interface (at http://astro.kent.ac.uk/HOYS-CAPS/). This interface will soon also allow participants to plot and study light-curves of any star imaged by the project.
At the time of writing the target list contains 17 young clusters/regions as well as several additional targets selected from the Gaia Photometric Alerts, some of which are within the 17 target regions. More than 3200 images have been taken for the project so far, with a total of about 1000hrs of observing time. So far the data has been included in one refereed paper, an Astronomers Telegram and a second paper is currently in preparation.
Dr Dirk Froebrich is now aiming to increase the participation in HOYS-CAPS to a much larger number of amateur societies across the entire UK. This potentially includes Wycombe Astronomical Society, so the aim of this presentation is for us to gain an understanding of the scientific goals and results of this project and how we can participate.
This is an exciting opportunity for WAS, and I hope you will enjoy hearing all about it. We do obviously understand that not all members may feel that they can easily participate due to the equipment involved, or perhaps the process needed to produce the required images. If that is the case, I would just like to say that we can help. The society has the required equipment, and as an example we could form working groups to capture the data and process results together during practical meetings so please keep an open mind.
There is a project website that you can look at on the link below, but you may wish to look at it in more detail after the talk;
Project website: http://astro.kent.ac.uk/~df/hoyscaps/index.html
Please note that Dr Froebrich will bring a questionnaire which will contain a few short questions to be answered anonymously, and voluntarily before and after the talk. This will enable the project team to collect some more feedback on their project.