APOGEE and Amateur Spectroscopy

Drew Chojnowski, APOGEE plate designer and lead of the emission-line stars science group, discusses SDSS and Be stars observed with the APOGEE instrument.

This weekend, APOGEEans David Whelan and Drew Chojnowski attended the Sacramento Mountains Spectroscopy Workshop. The workshop’s goal? To get amateur astronomers interested in pursuing spectroscopy. With a mix of amateurs and professionals in the room, the expertise was readily available, and the excitement was palatable.

On Friday, David Whelan lead a discussion on spectral classification of intermediate- and high-mass stars. This is a science effort that is essential to both APOGEE’s emission-line stars group and high-mass stars studies more generally. Perhaps some knowledgeable amateurs can begin to contribute?

Then on Saturday, Drew introduced the group to observing with the Sloan Telescope. Below, he is shown with one of SDSS’s APOGEE plates.

Drew and an APOGEE plate – teaching people how the SDSS is done.

These kinds of workshops break down the barrier between the amateur and the professional, and opens both groups to new possibilities. With special thanks to the organizers Ken Hudson and Joe Daglen, as well as François Cochard from Shelyak Instruments, we very much look forward to pursuing the science generated by this workshop.

The attendants of the Sacramento Mountains Spectroscopy Workshop. David and Drew are on the far right.

Amateur astronomer Joe Daglen, center, tells workshop attendants about the equipment that he uses to teach undergraduate students about imaging and spectroscopy.

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