About Social Astronomer

The aim of Social Astronomer is to provide a means for everyone with an interest in astronomy and astrophotography to store and share their data, images and techniques.

Right now, and for the next year or so, the site should be considered an "open beta" - that is, the site is not complete but is undergoing active development and improvement. As such, you should remember that data and accounts may need to be sacrificed (although we'll do our best to avoid this) so please do keep local copies of your observations and other data.

Every year, thousands of amateur astronomers make advanced observations of all kinds of celestial objects and phenomena. Aside from a few localised club or society websites, this data is largely lost to the wider community. Social Astronomer aims to remedy that by making data accessible to everyone, ensuring that the talented observers get the credit they deserve and allowing others to make good use of their data.

What can the site do for you?

There are three main areas of the site right now, but we have big plans to add more to the site as time goes on. Right now, all site members are able to:

  • Store details of their equipment and location as a virtual observatory
    • You can allow other members to join your observatory
    • Add your telescope, imagers, eyepieces, filters and other equipment to your observatory
  • Log observations and images against your observatory
    • Many catalogues are available - Messier, NGC, IC, a comprehensive catalog of solar system bodies, and all the catalogued features on the lunar surface
    • Accurately recording which equipment was used for which observation - including what image processing software was used - becomes simple, as does logging multiple images against an observation
    • Store details of exposure time, camera settings and number of subframes to any image you log
    • Submit your images for plate-solving, to give you accurate information about the exact image location in the celestial sphere and what objects are in the image
    • Find existing observations quickly and easily with our visual search system
  • Participate in casual sharing and discussion, with all the features you'd expect from a social networking site
    • With an easy-to-use social media interface, Social Astronomer lets you connect with other astronomers with ease
    • Share status updates, images, videos and links on your feed or the feeds of other members
    • Add site members to your "crowd" to keep in touch

What can you do for the site?

There're a number of ways you can contribute to astonomy and the site:

  • Sign up! Accounts are free, you can use your Facebook or Google+ account to join, and we won't throw loads of emails at you.
  • Add your data - the more data we can capture, the better we can design ways to get more from that data
  • Make requests and reports - let us know if you want a new feature, or have an idea how to make existing features more usable.
  • Spread the word - let all your other astrobuddies know we're here and what we're trying to do. We want to build the web's de facto astronomy, astrophotography and astrophysics community

Who's responsible for the site?

The site is the work of one developer and amateur astronomer - Mike Bergenstjerna. You can find him, and his observations, on the site or you can contact him at mike@socialastronomer.com

Since Mike is the only person working to develop the site, please be patient when making general enquiries either on the site or via email.

What are the site terms and conditions?

Have a look at our T&Cs page for more information. Basically the rules are:

  • Only post data which is yours or you have expressed rights to share
  • Be polite, be kind, and play nicely
  • Don't wander off-topic
  • Erm...
  • That's it

What if I want to help out with the site?

The best way to help out with the site right now is to join up and use it, reporting any problems to support@socialastronomer.com

As time goes on, Mike's hopful that the site will grow and we'll be able to expand in to a more stable and robust working model, rather than having just Mike working all hours he can spare on the site. If that happens, we may look for other delevopers or designers, but right now that's not the case.

Mike is keen to hear feature requests. If you think there's something which would add to the usefulness of the site, you can post it to the Site Development discussion group.