The last few weeks I've heard from several observers that they haven't been able to do any observing due to poor weather and I got to thinking: if we can't talk about our observations, why not talk about our observatories? So I've created a thread in the forums so that you can tell us about your local observatory and discussed the Sachtleben Observatory of Hastings College, my home-town observatory.Read more
Despite a spring blizzard, we made it to our 28 inch f/21 RC telescope at Mt.Evans Observatory in Colorado (14,148 ft elev) and visually inspected epsilon, zeta and eta at low airmass mid-day Tues 6/15/2010. Brian K and I agreed that eps and zeta were of comparable brightness, after several iterations. I think eps is slightly fainter than zeta when color differences are taken into account, but that gets subjective under bright sky conditions. Thus, we report no indication that epsilon Aur is brighter than zeta Aur at this time. Hence, no evidence for mid-eclipse brightening at this time, but further reports to follow.
With mid-eclipse forecast for early August 2010 and mid-eclipse brightening supposedly lasting +/- 30 to 45 days around that point, we should either begin to see evidence for it soon, or redefine the mid-eclipse light curve.Read more
The deadline to apply for the 1st round of selection is midnight (Eastern) tonight Monday, June 14th!
The second Citizen Sky Workshop will be held Friday-Sunday, September 3-5, 2010 at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. We will kick-off the 3-day workshop with an opening reception and tour on the evening of September 2. The focus of this workshop will be data analysis and scientific paper writing. We will have sessions updating us on the science of epsilon Aurigae, how to use VStar for basic data analysis, how to write papers for peer review, how to choose good research questions, doing literature reviews and much more. We also will have a free showing of the new Citizen Sky planetarium trailer on the California Academy of Science's brand-new planetarium dome.
Travel grants are available.
Greetings from the University of Denver's Meyer-Womble observatory perched atop Mt. Evans, CO. As Dr. Bob mentioned in his previous blog post, we're preparing the observatory for yet another summer season, this time focusing on daytime observing of epsilon Aurigae.
If you are not familure with our observatory, it is located at the 14,128 ft (4,306 meters) level, just past the end of the highest paved highway in the United States, the Mt. Evans highway. This road winds around peaks, skirts along 1,000 - 2,000 ft. drop offs, and is often impassable during the winter months. The observatory is so remote that the closest power pole is nearly 10 miles away as the crow flies, therefore we have a solar power system that generates 1.5 kW of electricity under ideal conditions. Read more
Our special guest was Grant Foster, a long-time variable star data researcher and one of the best around at describing statistics to a layperson. He is recent author of the book Analyzing Light Curves: A Practical Guide. Newbies are encouraged to ask any question, don't be shy! We recommend a quick scan of our new 5-Star Analysis Tutorial before joining the chat. Advanced folk can also attend and ask more advanced questions too, but try to save them for the later half of the talk.
This weekend marks both the 66th anniversary of D-Day, and the annual closest approach of the Sun to epsilon Aurigae - a scant 28 degree separation. If you've been attempting observations from anywhere in the northern hemisphere, you've seen how low the star is after sunset and how bright the lingering twilight has remained.
A fine screenshot shared by Thierry Garrel is appended, showing the cumulative effect over the past days, of the increasing twilight (scattering solar spectrum photons) on attempts to acquire spectrum of epsilon Aurigae (in this case, near the H-alpha line). Despite this, he and Robin Leadbeater appears to be able to extract consistent data (see image two). My thanks to these stalwart observers for sharing their findings.Read more