Copyright 2007 Starry Mirror and Glen Ward

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BRIDGEPORT, WV (S-M) - The ESA has launched a novel new program to allow amateur astronomers to help with the Venus Express project.


The Venus Ground-Based Archive is storing images of Venus made by amateurs to allow them to be used for scientific purposes. It is hoped that through the archive, around the clock data will be obtainable for scientists analyzing Venus Express observations.


"Amateur imaging of the planets has become scientifically viable in the past ten years due to the introduction of inexpensive CCD detectors," said Senior Editor Glen Ward. "Unfortunately, most of the images obtained are not scientifically useful because they were not obtained and stored in a uniform manner. The Ground-Based Archive is attempting to standardize amateur imaging of Venus so that the images can be of scientific value."


Amateurs will receive recognition when their images are used in a study. "This is a great way for amateurs to contribute to science," said Ward.