This is the 250th issue of our weekly feature. Coincidently: Today, exactly 9 years ago (24.10.2014), we held our inaugural HOYS workshop with some amateur astronomers from Kent. Hence: Happy 9th Birthday to HOYS! Facebook also reminded me today that allegedly I said in the first workshop that ‘It is not about how big your telescope is, it is what you do with it that counts‘ – thanks Vicky ;-)! That is certainly still the case. Many of our participating telescopes are rather small in diameter, but they provide invaluable data for our project. The main thanks for making this project a big success should of course go to all the observers that provide the data for us, as well as the people helping with the processing and quality control. Thank You very much!

Here is a non-exhaustive list of things that we have achieved over the last nine years:

  • We have just over 100 active participants in more than 15 countries world-wide that have delivered data for the project. Several more have helped with the processing of the images into our database.
  • We have a total of almost 100,000 images with more than 360 million brightness measurements of stars in them.
  • We have published 9 peer reviewed and 2 non-reviewed papers and two more are almost ready for submission. On many of the papers the participants are listed as co-authors.
  • The data have supported 2 research masters thesis and 4 PhD thesis projects.
  • We have given more than 60 presentations to amateur astronomy societies, schools and amateur conferences about the project, to more than 2000 people.
  • For 4 years running we are a Global Sky Partner of the Las Cumbres Observatory. For this we worked with ~50 amateurs, ~70 teachers, and ~500 pupils from ~30 schools world wide, to teach them about observing with remote telescopes and the science of star and planet formation.

What next? There are many things already ongoing. We will keep analysing the data for scientific publications – the two new PhD students will make invaluable contributions to this. We will finish the re-organisation of the database and make it available in its entirety again after the hard disk failures earlier this year. We are looking into developing an alert system for transients in our data. We will incorporate additional large data sets that are currently being taken, such as North-Phase. We will keep growing the number of participants for even better coverage of the light curves – we are now visible on the IAU website to amateurs world wide. And of course we will continue our outreach talks and work with pupils in schools.