Welcome to the world of the Skywatchers!
What do I need to do to be listed as a SkyWatcher?
There are three basic steps: Make sure you have the proper equipment, pick the area of the sky you wish to monitor, send in your e-mail or letter with the necessary information.
What information should be included on the e-mail or letter?
Include the following information.
Your e-mail address. Or if you prefer in addition, your name, address, phone numbers, and the best way to contact you should a event happen, which is of interest to a professional, in the area of the sky that you monitor. Remember the more information we have in the data base the easier it will be for a researcher to reach you should they require your assistance.
A brief description of the equipment that you will be using. Please include size of telescope, make of ccd camera, type and make of telescope mount.
List the areas of the sky that you plan to monitor. For more information on how to do this see `How do I select a area to monitor' below.
When you have completed these steps there are two ways to send the information to Skywatchers. The easiest way is to send a e-mail containing the required information to the following address;
The second way is to address a letter to Skywatchers, PO Box 635, Tracy, Ca. 95378, USA containing the required information. Upon recieving the request Skywatchers will evaluate the information. If everything is in order Skywatchers will return to you a short message that you have been accepted into Skywatchers database.
Please be advised this information is for Skywatchers data base only. This information is considered confidential and will under no circumstances be given out to any person, agency, oranization, execpt those individuals in professional astronomy community who have a need to know for research purposes and want to contact specific individuals who monitor specific areas of the sky. Providing Skywatchers with address information or E-mail addresses, authorizes Skywatchers to give out this information to individuals of the professional community as the need arises. For any request outside of normal channels the individual will be contacted for permission to have their addresses or e-mail address given out.
How do I select a area of the sky to monitor?
To select the area of the sky you wish to monitor follow the following guidlines. (1) One square degree of sky is a square, four minutes of right ascension by one degree of declination. Assuming a average size imaging chip, using medium resolution, the area covered is about one minute of right assention by 12 minutes declination (this is only a rough approximation!). It takes about 20 intergrations to cover a one square degree area. Assuming 2 to four minutes of intergration time for each picture, the total exposure time to cover one square degree is about 40 to 80 minutes, plus the time it takes to position for each exposure. The size of the area you choose is also determined by other factors such as equipment limitations. It is better to chose a smaller area that you know you can cover easily. Another idea is to select several areas scattered around the sky so that you can keep busy through out the year. These are only some of the considerations for selecting a area to cover. Many others are up to you, based on many variables, such as the type of observing you do, how deep the images are to be, the time you decide to devote to this, and other factors. When you make the final selection use the following rules to define the area; starting at 0hour right ascension, divide the sky into four minute increments all the way around back to 2400 hours right ascension. A typical selection would be as follows; the area bounded by 0 minutes to four minutes right ascension, by plus 81 degrees to plus 82 degrees. This could be abreviated (0m-4m R.A and +81-82Dec). Another choice could be (18hr. 20m-18hr.24m and +8-9Dec.). Remember to stick with the 4 minute increments in Ra, and degree increments in declination as this makes the data base record keeping vastly easier.
Is there a registration fee to belong to the Skywatcher organization?
When you have read and understand the above instructions send off the e-mail or the letter with the necessary information. Skywatchers will evaluate your application and if everything is correct will contact you with a short e-mail or letter congradulating you and that your selections have been accepted into the data base. At this time there are no fees, dues, or other charges to become a member. For the present Skywatchers is supported by a private company who has provided the necessary funds for equipment and database keeping costs necessary to maintain daily operations. Skywatchers is setup as a private company at this time. However, this may change in time. If you feel that this is a valuable and worth while cause please consider sending a contribution. Checks or cashers checks are fine, please don`t send cash. Your support will go a long way towards easing the burden of being dependent on private companys to provide funding. If you elect to support the organization financially please send your donations to
P.O. Box 635
Tracy, Ca. 95378
U. S. A.
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