Dont Be Afraid to

By their very nature, photometrists strive to push their art to the limit, right into the millimagnitude range (Mooo of a magnitude) if they possibly can. As a result, and without intending to, they often make photometry sound both scary and boring. It is not. Even if you shoot unfiltered images and don't make flat frames, you can do useful differential photometry of short-period variable stars or eclipsing binaries that will probably be good to 0.05 magnitudes—about four times better than a skilled observer can estimate by eye.

With a little care in shooting flat-fields, you can improve your accuracy to 0.015 magnitude, which is good enough to make light curves of stars with starspots, observe the 6-day rotational light curve of Pluto and any number of other interesting observations. Add a single standard photometric filter to the mix and join a group like the CBA, AAVSO, BAAVSS, or an ad hoc team from VSNET, and you'll tap into a lifetime of fascinating (and real) observing challenges.

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