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bkloppenborg's blog posts

Citizen Sky is now officially permanent part of the AAVSO. In the coming weeks we will be moving additional content to the AAVSO site and freezing this site as an archive of the 1st three years of the project. Please visit the new landing page for future updates.

eps Aur and CSky talk in Central Nebraska

I thought I would issue a plug for a talk I'm giving shortly.  On this Thursday, July 28 at 8:00 PM I will be presenting a talk on epsilon Auriage and Citizen Science at Nebraska Nature and Visitor's Center during the Platte Valley Astronomical Observers's monthly meeting.  Weather permitting, we'll also have an observing session afterward.  So, if you happen to be somewhere nearby we'd be happy to have you attend.

Posted by bkloppenborg on July 24, 2011 - 4:59pm

Reducing Astrometric Data

About a month ago I wrote a post discussing what I'm doing with some astrometric data from the Sproul Observatory. This week I'm happy to report I have the paper almost entirely written and am working out the last few kinks in the analysis. It's been a serious uphill battle in both learning about astrometry and reducing the data, but I think it's been worth it.


In this post I'm going to talk a little more about the data and how it is reduced. In the prior post I mentioned that the data was taken on photographic plates starting in 1938 and ending in the early 1980s. I only have a small subset of the entire set from Sproul (about 40% actually) which is enough to show the effect I was looking for, but not much more.Read more

Posted by bkloppenborg on July 12, 2011 - 11:15am

Upcoming Article in The Classroom Astronomer

On behalf of my coauthors I am pleased to announce that Tom Pearson, Brian Kloppenborg, and Heinz-Bernd Eggenstein will have an article in tomorrow's release of The Classroom Astronomer, an education magazine for secondary and undergraduate education.  There is a sampler for the next issue that includes a one-page excerpt from our articleRead more

Posted by bkloppenborg on June 21, 2011 - 12:39am

Benefits of Astronomy/Astrophysics

It's not that often that I put up two blog posts in the same day, but I couldn't wait for this one.  In the past I've had trouble answering the question of "what has astronomy done for me" or "how can pure research benefit the economy."  

Well, today I have a clear example of how something from astronomy is helping a different field which, in turn, helps people:

Adaptive optics technology reveals eye's cellular structure with unprecedented detail

In the article they describe how AO, used to stabilize astronomical images from being blurred by Earth's atmosphere, has now been used to image a living retina.  This could, in turn, lead to earlier diagnosis of eye diseases earlier and save people's eyesight!Read more

Posted by bkloppenborg on June 9, 2011 - 4:02pm

An Update on the Sproul Data

Back in January 2011 Eric Jensen of Swarthmore College, home of the Sproul Observatory, provided me with three stacks of papers from the late Dr. Peter Van de Kamp. These pages contained raw and processed astrometric data on epsilon Aur which. As you might recall, my initial post on this topic explained that there is a strong disagreement between the orbits implied by the Van de Kamp orbital solution and the more recent interferometric data from CHARA.

 Read more

Posted by bkloppenborg on June 9, 2011 - 1:36pm

218 AAS Meeting

The 218 AAS meeting in Boston, MA was great.  I met up with people I know and several people whom I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time.  
There were many talks about the recent results from Kepler ranging from new instrumentation/reduction pipeline issues to new scientific discoveries (planets and astroseismology mostly).  One particularly interesting talk, at least from my perspectives, presented some demographic information on jobs in astronomy/astrophysics.  The speaker (James S. Ulvestad of the NSF, who made it very clear that he was NOT speaking on behalf of the NSF, but instead as an individual), presented some staggering statistics.  Once the talk is online I highly suggest you watch it if you are planning a career in astronomy/astrophysics research.
Read more

Posted by bkloppenborg on May 27, 2011 - 2:34pm

What are the essential things for an introduction to astronomy?

Today I had the opportunity to talk with a group of high school students in an astronomy class at University Schools, a charter school, up the road in Greely, CO. The last time I was around high school students was when I did some classroom observing as part of the education program at my undergraduate institution, Hastings College. The group came to DU's historic Chamberlin observatory as part of an outing to Denver.

 Read more

Posted by bkloppenborg on May 14, 2011 - 12:13am

The Disk Revealed: Part 2

Back in February I posted an image showing the outline of the disk:

but after talking with Aaron about his recent visit to Tufts, I realized that I didn't actually explain what was in the image.  So I thought I would take a moment and put up a different graphic:

Read more

Posted by bkloppenborg on May 5, 2011 - 12:14am

Reading Papers that impact your own work.

I spent the entire day Friday reading papers. I can already imagine your groans of disapproval for such an exciting blog post idea, but in reality reading papers is a critical portion of research. Sometimes the papers you read really help you with your research, and other times they smash your hopes of making a new contribution. It's this horrible aspect that happened today and I thought I would spend a few minutes discussing where one can go from here.

 Read more

Posted by bkloppenborg on April 23, 2011 - 2:59pm

Calling all teachers, artists, and lovers of literature

I have recently been contacted by the editor for a magazine entitled "The Classroom Astronomer" about writing an article discussing how DSLR cameras can be used in the classroom.  The magazine is geared towards secondary and undergraduate teachers who have an interest in astronomy.  The article is suppose to answer two primary questions:

  1. What you can do with a DSLR Camera
  2. Why you should use it in the classroom

Read more

Posted by bkloppenborg on March 31, 2011 - 8:11pm

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