The end of the calendar year marks an end and a beginning for many cycles, among them the annual bird count conducted by the Audubon Society - this year being their 110th census, making it the longest-running volunteer or citizen science effort. Results of the Christmas Bird Count are being used to gauge climate change effects, among many other purposes. Many birders are also avid astronomers, sharing a love of observing and recording data. AAVSO - the American Association of Variable Star Observers - comes in a close second at 98 years, for conducting one of the longest running citizen science activities as well. The millions of observations reported to AAVSO are useful for all kinds of astrophysical studies, including this focus on epsilon Aurigae.Read more
For the Northern Hemisphere of Earth, we have arrived at the winter solstice and the light has faded. For us in the north, spring is only 3 months away. For all of Earth, however, we will remain in the shadow of the disk in the epsilon Aurigae system for the next 12 months and then some - until nearly spring of 2011. Thus, we will be deprived of some of the warming photons coming to us from the F star in the system, while the dark disk intrudes and lingers in the line of sight.Read more
As part of the registration process, we asked new participants what they felt would be their biggest challenge in this project. The #1 answer, by far, has been time. So we've put together a table of the amount of time needed for a sampling of roles in the project...Read more
It's December 8th evening, Julian Date (J.D.) 2,455,175 and we are only a few days from predicted time of Second Contact when total eclipse starts.
The words "1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th contact" refer to moments when objects in eclipsing systems overlap partially and totally. Consider a small circle crossing in front of a bigger circle: first, just the outsides touch (1st contact); then the small circle just gets fully inside the larger (2nd contact); later, the smaller circle begins to exit from inside the larger circle (3rd contact), and at the end, the circles stop touching at their edges, before separating (4th contact).Read more