Stellar photometry for the Shared Skies Partnership
This thesis forms a feasibility study into the use of remotely operable telescopes at Mount Kent Observatory in Australia and Moore Observatory in the USA for precision stellar photometry by distance education students, for an initiative called the Shared Skies partnership. The thesis introduces stellar activity and exoplanet science as motivations for stellar photometry and the use of remotely operable telescopes for education through research. Methods for stellar photometry are reviewed as are the technical details of the telescopes at Mt Kent and Moore Observatories. Light curve results of standard stars, spotted stars and an exoplanet transit are presented. Discussion of these results is made, and suggestions offered regarding the use of pipeline processing software and robotic operation of the telescopes as future developments. It is concluded that scientifically useful stellar photometry can be obtained using remotely operable telescopes at Mount Kent and Moore Observatories but general use must await the implementation of robust robotic telescope operation and pipeline processing of data to avoid the downloading of large amounts of raw data over the internet.