This week we have a little bit of a look how ‘international’ our project is. Some of you might know, or even remember, that we originally started out with a small group of amateur astronomers local to Kent in the UK. This was in the autumn of 2014. For the first three year we slowly found our feet. We opened our own teaching observatory a year later and gathered images from a small number of UK based amateurs (recruited by mouth to mouth advertisement by the participants) to learn how to best store, process and analyse the data in the images.
It quickly became apparent that we needed some form of online accessible database for processing and storing the data. We obtained some funding for a server and a computing undergraduate student to develop the web interface. This went online in the autumn of 2017. With this in place we were able to start growing the number of participants. Again, with funding obtained for public engagement from the university, we started to give talks to UK amateur astronomy societies. During 2018/19 we gave about 40 such presentations and started to grow our participant list in the UK. Furthermore, we run a few observing campaigns with the help of the AAVSO, which introduced the project to more widely distributed participants.
During 2020-22 we continued the talks online due to Covid and we have now done about 55 of them. We now have almost 100 active participants delivering images from 13 countries world wide. They are still mostly Europe based, but we have an ever growing number of US and South-America based observers. During 2020 we also set up our new website. In the above figure we show the usage statistics for the website for each country. We have now had people looking through our website from at least 139 different countries – including e.g. Togo, Mali, and Fiji. So we can certainly claim to be an international project. From 55 different countries we had at least 10 different users. As you can see on the map, there are not many large countries left where no-one has looked at our website. It will be interesting to see when the remaining white spots on the map will disappear – please share this post to see if we can help this along …. 🙂