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It's romantic to capture a comet--what about discovering a comet?
2020 / 08 / 13
Comet Neowise has recently become an undisputed astronomical star. More recently, a user of QHY600 discovered a new comet. His name was Leonardo Amaral.

And the new comet he discovered has been officially named after him : C/2020 O2 (Amaral)

 


Interviwer:Davy Lee, Marketing Manager of QHYCCD--D
Interviewee:Leonardo Scanfelra Amaral--L
 
 
D: Maybe a brief bio first, please?
 
 
L: My name is Leonardo Scanfelra Amaral. I'm 35 years old. I am a systems analyst at a bank. I have a degree in Computing and a master's degree in the field. I live in Rio de Janeiro-RJ Brazil. I have a small remote observatory located in Bilac-SP. 1000km away from my home. The name of the observatory is "Observatório Campo dos Amaral". He is registered in the MPC with the code X74.
 
 
 
 
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D: Congratulations to your discovery! Can you briefly introduce the process of your finding this new comet?
L: Thank you very much. QHY is part of that discovery. Almost 3 years ago I started a small survey to search for NEOs (Near-Earth Object ). I developed software to automate the entire observatory and thus be able to operate remotely. He operates every night in good weather and all night long. I also use software developed by another Brazilian to analyze images in search of moving objects, such as asteroids and comets. In these 3 years I found some new objects:
3 - Main Belts
3 - NEOs
and now 1 - Comet
 
In addition, the observatory monitors objects already discovered and also recently discovered objects. Thousands of these objects have already been captured and reported in these 3 years.
 
 
 

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D: What's your feeling the second when "you're sure that you truly found a new comet?"
 
 
L: At first I felt a chill in my belly. Then a great feeling of joy. Finding a comet is like going on a fishing trip and catching the fish of your life. An incredible emotion.


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D: How's the life of amateur scientific works?
L: I have to reconcile the activities of the observatory with my daily activities (work, family, friends, etc.). It takes an average of 2 to 3 hours to schedule the night's searches and carry out the analysis of the objects found. This task is very dynamic, we are always participating in the definition of new objects found recently. This makes work enjoyable.

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D: What devices are you using to capture comets?
L: At this moment I have the following setup:
Camera: QHY600 (installed a few weeks ago)
Mount: Ioptron CEM60-EC (I recently won a prize from the planetary society to change the assembly. I am waiting for an Ioptron CEM120EC2 to arrive)
OTA: GSO 12 "Truss tube f4. (With the replacement of the assembly, it will be possible to use a larger OTA. Maybe a C14 + Hyperstar. But there is still a lack of financial resources to make this exchange.

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D: You found the comet only months since you used QHY600. Could you please tell us your comment of this device?
L: Changing the camera was essential for making this discovery. I am grateful to QHY for their help in this exchange. We need more companies like that.
The QhY600 proved to be a much more sensitive camera than the old one. I also had a drastic reduction in the download time of the images, so I can cover a larger area.
The new camera is behaving very well and I am managing to reach a half magnitude deeper in the captured images and cover a 30% larger area. With that the chance of finding new objects has improved a lot.

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D: Any advice to those who want to find out asteroids/comets too?
L: Believe in your dreams. It's possible. Dedicate yourself a lot and certainly see the fruits of your work reaping.




 
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