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2010 IOTA Conference IOTA Annual Meeting December 3-5, 2010 AAVSO, Cambridge, Massachusetts USA.

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Presentation on theme: "2010 IOTA Conference IOTA Annual Meeting December 3-5, 2010 AAVSO, Cambridge, Massachusetts USA."— Presentation transcript:

1 2010 IOTA Conference IOTA Annual Meeting December 3-5, 2010 AAVSO, Cambridge, Massachusetts USA

2 Homer F. DaBoll 2010 Award IOTA Annual Meeting December 3-5, 2010 Boston area, Massachusetts USA

3 Background Concept of Award defined at the 2006 IOTA meeting (Delaware): To recognize significant contributions to occultation science and to the work of the IOTA Name honors Homer F. DaBoll (1920 – 1990) –Organizer of grazing occultation expeditions in Midwest USA beginning in late 1960s –Suggested the name International Occultation Timing Association –Founding officer of IOTA 1975 (secretary/treasurer) –First editor of Occultation Newsletter, from 1974 through 1990 Previous awardees (2007) Dave Herald, (2008) Edwin Goffin, (2009) Steve Preston

4 2010 Award Selection Nominations were solicited in early November Award committee formed from volunteers –Dave Herald, ACT, Australia (recipient 2007 award) –Edwin Goffin, Belgium (recipient 2008 award) –Steve Preston, USA (recipient 2009 award) –Colin Haig, Ontario, Canada –Robert Buchheim, California, USA –Terrence Redding, Florida, USA (chairman) Award committee goals: –select recipient of 2010 Homer DaBoll award

5 Eligibility (current) Who is eligible for the award? Anyone who has made significant contribution to occultation science or the work of the IOTA Excluding sitting IOTA officers & award committee IOTA membership not required Who can make Nominations? No defined restrictions at this time Call for Nominations made via Yahoo group effectively restricts nominators to active occultation community

6 Deliberations Total of 9 nominations received, from 8 nominators –All were excellent candidates All communication conducted by –private to the committee –independent of IOTA officers Approach was discussion to reach a consensus (not majority voting), considering: –Documentation provided with nominations –Experience & personal knowledge of the candidates contributions.

7 IOTA Mission and Goals MISSION STATEMENT To encourage and facilitate the observation of occultations and eclipses We provide predictions for grazing occultations of stars by the Moon and predictions for occultations of stars by asteroids and planets We also provide information on observing equipment and techniques, and we report to our members about observations made IOTA GOALS AND OBJECTIVES To promote scientific research and discovery using occultation related methods To conduct research at the local, regional and international level and to publish results of studies in popular and scientific journals To stimulate public awareness of phenomena such as eclipses and occultations To improve lunar profile data through timing of grazing and total occultations To determine shapes and sizes of minor planets and comets through timing of occultations of stars by these objects


9 Hristo Pavlov 2010 DaBoll Award Recipient

10 Hristos Astronomy Background Hristo was born in a small town in central Bulgaria in Eastern Europe. He watched the TV series Cosmos by Carl Sagan which started his interest in Astronomy. A few years later the returning comet Halley made comets and asteroids particularly fascinating to him. At the age of 14 Hristo moved to another city to study Physics in a selective school. His first computer program he wrote at the age of 10 and programming became another major interest. He begun studying Physics at the university but the difficult times and the poor prospects for getting a job as a scientist at the time made Hristo decide to shift his career path into software engineering. In 2005 Hristo moved with his wife to Australia after being granted a skilled migrant visa.

11 Hristos Astronomy Background, cont. A year later the views of the magnificent comet McNaught rekindled his interest in astronomy. Hristo became a member of a local astronomy club and this is how he met Dave Gault and later Dave Herald. He was impressed by the drift scanning method for timing asteroid occultations used by John Broughton. Dave Gault introduced him to video observations. He has currently observed and timed more than two dozen asteroid occultations. Hristo discovered the difficulty in planning and staying informed with the occultation predictions and in 2006 started writing software to help with this. He presented OccultWatcher at the First Trans Tasman Symposium on Occulations in Auckland, New Zealand where he also met David Dunham and discussed the need of software for global coordination of occultation observers. Gradually he added more features to OccultWatcher which currently has more than 600 registered occultation observers all over the world.

12 Hristos Astronomy Background, cont. In 2009 Hristo was able to observe the flyby of the near Earth asteroid 2009 DD45 using video. This is how he got interested in astrometry and video astrometry in particular. He began working on his software for the reduction of video observations – Tangra. The software can do both astrometry and photometry directly from a video file and has been designed with the intention to simplify the reduction process for both occultation light curves and astrometry. Hristo became an Australian citizens in He is currently building a backyard observatory in Sydney which, while not yet finished, already has an MPC observatory code obtained with a video camera, an 8 telescope and reduction done with his software Tangra.

13 Hristos 2010 DaBoll Award Acceptance Speech To IOTA, I would like to sincerely thank you for the honor of presenting me with this year's Homer DaBoll Award! I would also like to apologize. A combination of technical issues, the late time of the session and my demanding family (3 months old daughter and 23 months old son) prevented me from preparing and responding more adequately during the online EVO session of the IOTA meeting. Thanks to Dave Herald who recorded and sent me Terry's presentation. I finally watched it yesterday. Someone on the record said that I should probably prepare and present a speech before I am allowed to have the award :) Well, fair enough. Let's start with a bit of a history. Cont.

14 Hristos 2010 DaBoll Award Acceptance Speech, cont. After I moved to Australia and renewed my astronomical activity in 2006 I met many people in IOTA, and in Australia in particular, that inspired me to observe occultations, helped me to learn and treated me as a good friend. I have to say that it really takes a special person to drive to a dark road in the middle of nothing, setup a telescope, wait to record a few seconds event, not observe anything interesting most of the time and still feel happy and fulfilled. These are people like you, that have the desire to help the science with their efforts and actually do science without being a scientist. This is what inspired me most to start observing occultations and not for example to start taking more pictures of M-42. Occultations however requires team work and team work needs coordination. In 2007 I met David Dunham in Auckland, New Zealand and we discussed some aspects of an automated global occultation coordination software. Cont.

15 Hristos 2010 DaBoll Award Acceptance Speech, cont. I had just presented the very first version of OccultWatcher (OW) at the First Trans Tasman Symposium on Occultations and back then OW couldn't do more than grabbing Steve Preston's events and showing you very basic details of what is close to you and showing you when Steve has updated some of his predictions. With time I kept adding new bits to OccultWatcher to become what it currently is. Some people have told me that with OccultWatcher I have revolutionized the way occultation observers plan and coordinate their observations but to be honest from my point of view I have just made my life easier which also turned out to make other people's life easier as well. But I have to admit that I am glad that observers use OccultWatcher and It makes me happy to see events in U.S. and Europe with more than 10 stations in OccultWatcher. It is really good to see when people go out, coordinate and most importantly observe. Cont.

16 Hristos 2010 DaBoll Award Acceptance Speech, cont. I guess the other part of this story is also about the analysis of video observations. I have to say that Kazuhisa Miyashita's LiMovie was also something that impressed me along the way and I always thought it should be very difficult and complicated to write something like it. Now that have done it with Tangra I can tell you that I was not wrong. Writing a video light measurement tool with automatic tracking is not an easy job. And I think you can also tell this from your experience with LiMovie and Tangra because their tracking doesn't always work the way you want it to. When I started writing Tangra I wasn't absolutely sure that having a second light measurement tool was a very good idea. I still don't know but I hope that what I have added as 'improvements' will really be seen as improvements one day. And if you ask me what is the biggest advantage of Tangra I will say that this is the ability to see how the measuring apertures have been positioned for every single measured datapoint in every measured frame. Cont.

17 Hristos 2010 DaBoll Award Acceptance Speech, cont. And not only this but also the ability to send a much file to someone else to evaluate your light curve. That's right, I may not be able to guarantee that Tangra will do better tracking and better measurements than other tools but I can really guarantee that if there is a bogus measurement you can definitely identify it after the measurement looking at file in Tangra. Some people have also asked me why the name "Tangra" and others have even suggested I have named it after my favorite rock band. I thought it may be curious to say where the name comes from. It is in fact the name of the supreme god of the ancient Bulgarian tribes and this also reveals my background - I was born in Bulgaria. Oh yes, and Tangra was the god of the sky, of course. Cont.

18 Hristos 2010 DaBoll Award Acceptance Speech, cont. And finally I should also say that I was a little surprised that the award was given to me this year when I think that there are other more experienced people that have been contributing for IOTA for a much longer period of time than me. I hope in future years to see people being presented with the Homer DaBoll award for observing, organizing observers and also doing scientific research using occultations with the observations provided by you - the observer, because in my opinion it is those people that have helped most to advance the occultation science. One more time, thank you so much for giving me this honor, I appreciate it very much! Now, can I have my award please? Cheers, Hristo. __._,_.___

19 Committee Thoughts Award Committee was effective –Nominees considered against IOTA mission and goals Work of the 2010 awards committee was excellent –While consensus was not sought, it was quickly achieved Cycle time was OK, but process should start earlier –Call for nominations was made ~4 weeks before meeting –Deadline ~ 2 weeks before meeting –Provides ~5 days for deliberations – completed in five days –1 week for fab of award plaque – accomplished in 24 hours Items we didn'tt have to deal with, but which may come up in the future: –Should there be a limit to the number of individuals a single person can nominate? –How do we ensure other continent deserving individuals are considered? –Should we make an effort to recognize those who contributed the most in the early years of IOTA?

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