The following guide provides information on how to report comets to the Sungrazer Project via the official report form. This form is only to be used to report comets observed in the SOHO/LASCO C2 or C3 cameras. It is NOT for reporting comets in data from any other SOHO instrument (e.g. SWAN), any other space mission (e.g. STEREO, Parker Solar Probe), or from the any Earth based observations. For repoorting comets in the STEREO instrument cameras, please send us an email to report the comet. We do not handle or process reports of any ground-based comet discoveries; if you think you saw a comet in the night sky, you are welcome to ask us about it, but we are not the official place for reporting any comet discovery other than in the SOHO or STEREO spacecraft data.
To report a new comet
- Select your name from the list. If you are a New User, select that option and also immediately submit the Contributor Request Form. We cannot credit you with a comet discovery if we do not know your name!
- Choose "Potential Comet:"
- Select the Date of the FIRST IMAGE in your report
- Choose the appropriate camera and image size options.
- Choose the appropriate option to state your (0,0) position. (See also the tutorial.)
- State which group the comet belongs to, if you know it.
- Give the frame time (eg 20:18 or 2018) and x and y values for each position for at least two observations in LASCO C2, and three observations in LASCO C3. Click the "Add Another Item" button to add more frames. Please note that a comet must ultimately be visible in at least 6 or 7 consecutive images for us to be able to confirm it!
- Enter the CAPTCHA code and click either "Preview" (to preview the report) or "Save" to submit it immediately.
- Click "Display". Make sure the details you have given are correct, and then click "Submit".
If you have already submitted a comet report, but wish to add extra positions, do the following. (Note: this is only really necessary for faint comets. If a comet is bright, there is no need to give more than six positions as it is easily visible).
- Select your name, "Additional Observations", and enter the Camera and Image information
- Enter the "Time Referenced" information with the date and time of the post that you are making an addition to. These dates/times are listed on the reports page, with the numerical portion of the report title being the date and time (YYYYMMDDHHMMSS). For example, the report titled "report_ss_20210319061214" was made on 2020-March-19 06:12:14UT.
- Add the frame information, answer the CAPTCHA, and submit the report.
Correcting a previous post
If, after submitting information, you realize you made a mistake, you can correct it by selecting the "Correction" option, and filling out the information as noted above for "Additional Observations".
To retract a claim
If you have reported a comet, but then realize your report was not a real comet, we request that you retract your claim.
- Select your name
- Select the "Retracting" option
- Enter the date/time of the report as the "Time Referenced"
- You do not need to give any additional information.
To "Endorse" another hunters' comet
"Endorsing" a report means that you have seen the same object with your own eyes, and you are convinced that it is a real object. If you have not looked at the data, seen the comet, and verified the measurements, then please DO NOT endorse the report. Also, please DO NOT endorse your own reports - only those made by other comet hunters. (Your report will not get any special treatment from being endorsed, and falsely endorsing reports just makes it harder for the Admin team to confirm actual comets.) Thus we ask that you do not endorse any reports until you yourself are suitably experienced in comet hunting.
- Open up a report (e.g. like this one)
- Select your name.
- Enter the CAPTCHA and submit.
- Again: please DO NOT endorese your own reports, or any reports you are not CONVINCED are real!
Occasionally, comets discovered in LASCO C3 will later appear in C2, and very rarely a comet discovered in C2 will later appear in C3 (the latter being non-Kreutz objects), or a ground-discovered comet will appear in one of the cameras. In these circumstances, experienced comet hunters will often post a "known comet" message to inform others that an object that has appeared in the data is already "known". We ask that only the experienced comet hunters use this option.
- Choose "Known comet now entering...:"
- Give the date, camera and image size.
- Enter the information as you would for a new comet report.
Reporting a possible fragment/companion
On rare occasions a comet will have a fragment or companion very close to it. In this instance we recommend you select this option, just to make it clear that you are reporting a different-but-nearby object. The method for reporting is the same as used above for reporting a new object, except you select the "Possible Fragment/Companion" option.
Please be aware of the following:
- If you disagree with any decision made by the webmaster about whether a comet is real or not, please send an email explaining your reasoning, and you argument will be considered. Ultimately, however, the decision of the Sungrazer Administrator, or an MPC/CBAT official, is final.
- If a claim is made via email, and a claim is also submitted via the report form, the webmaster will look at the time stamp on the email to determine who made the claim first. Typically, claims less than ~10s apart are given dual credit. However, in cases such as these, inaccurate postings are looked upon less favorably.
- Following on from #2... Claims consisting of just one solitary position will be completely disregarded under almost all circumstances. Credit will be given to the first person to provide two or more accurate positions of the comet. This means that if you submit just one position, other comet-hunters are free to take your position and add one of their own and get credit! So please do not submit just one position! The only time you may submit a single position is for correcting a report, adding to a report, or reporting a known object.
Further to this subject, in any situation where there is uncertainty as to who should get credit for a discovery, credit will always be given to the hunter(s) who most closely followed the requirements.
- For the Sungrazer Administrator to be able to confirm a comet, it must be visible in a minimum of five consecutive images. Often, for C3 especially, six or seven images may be needed for confirmation. If you make a claim with less than five positions, and you can not find any subsequent positions for the object, you must retract your claim.
- If you submit a claim with the wrong user name, you must do two things. First, resubmit your claim with your correct name, and second, email the Sungrazer Administrator immediately stating the error you made. The Sungrazer Administrator will then contact the comet hunter whose name was incorrectly used. If that person denies posting the claim, you will be given the claim. However, if the comet hunter does not deny posting the claim, they will be awarded the claim. Therefore it is your responsibility to ensure all the details you are submitting are correct.
- Excessive reporting: If the Sungrazer Administrator feels that an individual is reporting excessive amounts of noise, cosmic rays, stars, etc, they will be sent a warning email asking them to slow down. If they do not act upon this warning, the Sungrazer Administrator may remove them either temporarily or permanently from the list of comet hunters. Their reinstatement will be purely at the discretion of the Sungrazer Administrator.
- Comet numbering: Comets are usually numbered (SOHO-####) in the order the reports are received. However, as the numbering system is for internal purposes only (the CBAT name being the official name of the object), SWAN discoveries and archive discoveries might not get numbered sequentially. Often, these comets will get the next 'available' number.
- Archive claims: Following on from #7... an archive claim is a claim from images not deemed to be in the "realtime" data stream. This time period varies, but usually any claim made from images more than ~48 hours old is considered an archive find and is subject to numbering as outlined in #7., above, at the discretion of the Sungrazer Administrator.
- All reports made to the project site will remain on the site even if they are not deemed to be a comet discovery. However, the Sungrazer Administrator can and will remove reports that are clearly and obviously "junk" (i.e. empty reports, nonsensical dates/times/positions, etc).
Software tools are increasingly available that allow you to automatically download files from web servers at whatever rate you choose. There are also tools available that allow you to generate and download a list of URLs (web addresses). These tools are perfectly acceptable for use in SOHO comet hunting, but ONLY under the following circumstances:
- Automated scripts do not connect to the LASCO data servers (lasco6, lasco-www, sohowww) any more frequently than every 15 minutes.
- You do not generate a list of every possible image download URL and repeatedly test the server for availability of those data.
Both of those rules are in place to ensure the security of our webservers. Excessive automated connections to servers could be misinterpreted as malicious activity ("Denial Of Service") and can result in your IP address being blocked and/or your comet hunting priviledges being suspended.
As with any aspect of this SOHO comet project, if you have any questions about these rules or are unclear in any way about them, do not hesitate to contact the Sungrazer Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org.