About the name
"RMS" stands for Rowe, McPherson, Sanzone - three families whose financial help made this dream come true. Rowe and Sanzone are my fathers and mothers families, Tommy McPherson was a close family friend.
I am very fortunate to have a life long dream of a backyard observatory come true and am grateful to all that have made it possible, especially my wife Dede and her love and support.
Currently I focus on astrometry and photometry of asteroids and comets.
Astrometry is measurement of the positions of objects in order to better refine their orbits. I try to focus on newly discovered objects or objects with poorly known orbits. For newly discovered objects it is very important to closely monitor their position for several days or weeks to calculate a sufficiently good orbit so they don't become "lost". The positions are sent to the Minor Planet Center, an example is here.
Photometry is the measurement of an objects brightness. When an asteroid is measured over enough time (usually several nights) it is possible to calculate a rotation period based on its varying brightness. This information can also be used to create a model of the shape and is useful for radar observations and spacecraft missions. Asteroid measurements are published in the Minor Planet Bulletin. Comet photometry can be useful in helping predict the behavior of these "unpredictable" objects. Comet measurements are published at the Comet Observation Database.
Astronomy has been my passion all of my life.
My father told me one of the first words I said after "ma-ma" and "da-da" was "star".
An asteroid lightcurve with a rotation period of 11.40 hours.
Data taken at RMS Observatory, graph created with MPO Canopus.
A comet lightcurve showing the trend over many months. Some of the data is mine.