The cover story of S&T's January 2014 issue features the significant role amateur astronomers have played in planetary science, and especially the study of Jupiter, over the past decade. Amateurs have monitored everything from Jupiter's changeable weather to Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9's bruising impact.
Jupiter watchers have received help and legitimacy for their discoveries from the following organizations:
• The Association of Lunar and Planetary Observers (ALPO) is an international group of amateur astronomers who observe solar system bodies, share expertise on viewing methods and equipment, and promote the study of the Sun, Moon, planets, asteroids, comets, and meteors. Visit their website for more information on how to get involved.
• The British Astronomical Association encourages all aspects of observational astronomy and the association of observers at all levels. This amateur astronomer community has several sub-groups, including those devoted to Jupiter, Mars, the Moon, comets, and variable stars. Membership is open to anyone.
• Cloudy Nights is an online forum where amateur astronomers can discuss observing techniques and equipment as well as comment on the facets of the hobby and promote educational opportunities. They also peer-review specific telescopes and accessories. The forum is open to anyone who wants to join.