It is a common misconception that astronomical observations can only be carried out from extensively large observatories with extremely expensive telescopes and complicated control systems.

Artist’s rendition of a polar CV. Photo: Dr Mark A. Garlick. http://www.space-art.co.uk/ & http://www.markgarlick.com/Artist’s rendition of a polar CV. Photo: Dr Mark A. Garlick. http://www.space-art.co.uk/ & http://www.markgarlick.com/

Although such professional setups are indeed best equipped, observations from amateur astronomers all over the globe are never to be discounted. Smaller telescopes can be successfully used for scientific measure­ments accordingly.

Indeed, amateur astro­nomers’ observations are an invaluable asset for seve­ral professional astronomical observations.

This is because they provide observations from all around the globe, thus making the continuous observation of a target more likely – professional observatories might be clouded over during the observation time.

Even locally, Maltese astro­nomers have made important contributions to astronomy via their observations. Re­cently, a Maltese astro­nomer – Stephen Brincat – discovered a number of new variable stars from his own home.

Astronomy normally re­quires a basic knowledge of the targets that one would be imaging and a good grasp of how to use the equipment one owns, but anyone can make contributions to astronomy if they really want to.

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