I once volunteered a week at the Meyer Womble Observatory, then the higest telescope in the world (14,148 feet). This cured me of the fever for a few weeks. See http://www.mountevans.com/ and http://mysite.du.edu/~rstencel/MtEvans/. At the time I had an idea to use their binocular scope to do some sum-and-difference observing. One of the tubes photographs visual band and the other photographs the near IR band. My idea was to use the two signals thinking this: dark matter blocks the visual spectrum and IR passes through unaffected (that's why FLIR cameras work and action films see heat signatures on the other side of a brick wall). Subtracting the two signals should reveal what the eye cannot see thereby revealing what is obsrtucting the light. Well, unfortunately, the camera was inoperative and I never had another opportunity to go back (invitation is still open). Since then, the camera was donated to the University of Wyoming and the paper I wanted to write was dismissed by the U of TN. I guess as an amateure I just did not have enough letters in the suffix of my name to be considered seriously.
Anyway, now that astrophotography is affordable to amateurs, my thought returns for the hunt for dark matter using this same approch of two exposures. I know of many fine visual-band cameras so the Q is: is there an IR camera available for such a search?
This is simple science all amateures could do and contribute to moving forward our understanding of the cosmos. Just think of this: use this trick to actually image a distant planet as it passes between us and its sun. Or find a nearby dust cloud not by looking for dark patches but by seeing it glare at you once the background stars are replaced? The applications could be astoundingly revealing.
So who do I talk to about advancing this idea? Anyone?