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The Minor Planet Observer
Palmer Divide Observatory

2007 Shoemaker Grant Recipient

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LC Wizard
Period Spectrum
TOM Calculator


Lightcurve Analysis in Canopus

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Industry Standard Analysis

The Photometry page of the Canopus application displays the data for lightcurve analysis. The routine is a translation from FORTRAN code of Dr. Alan Harris of JPL for use in Canopus. This routine is considered a standard among professionals for lightcurve analysis.

The entry fields at the top of the page and other controls allow you to "zero in" on the period with the help of the Period Spectrum form, which lets you see a range of possible solutions.

Observations from night to night and even among observers can be combined to produce a single set of data.

Canopus was the first program to incorporate this algorithm designed for general use by amateurs (and even professionals!). It has been used by observers world wide for the past decade to publish almost 2000 lightcurves in juried publications. There is no substitute for a proven track record of success!

Simple and Efficient Measurements - Start to Finish in 20 Minutes

Using the Lightcurve Wizard in MPO Canopus, you specify up to five comparison stars and the target on two images, usually separated in time by an hour or more. Once this is done, you select all the images you want to measure and start with the first. Canopus automatically tracks the motion of the asteroid and adjusts the position of its measuring apertures image by image. If you have a mount with good tracking, the only time you may have to reset the position of all apertures (with a single mouse click at that), is if you periodically adjust the scope's position to keep the asteroid centered. Those working a fixed target such as a variable star can often go through an entire night's images without ever having to reset the apertures.

In short, what this means it that starting with 150-300 images from a night's run, you can setup the wizard, measure the image, and do initial period analysis in less than 20 minutes while maintaining full control over which images are actually measured. This allows you - not the computer - to determine if a plane going through the middle of an image affects the measurements or not. Time saved by automatic measuring can often be lost when trying to determine why some data points appear to be "out of whack."


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This page was last updated on 01/19/11 05:14 -0700.
All contents copyright (c) 2005-2011, Brian D. Warner
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