How the time flies. Seems like yesterday (actually 2005) when the first observing proposals* for monitoring epsilon Aurigae were being submitted - and suddenly we have arrived at predicted mid-eclipse. According to Jeff Hopkins, who has made a study of the light curves, he expected mid-eclipse to occur August 4th, 2010 = JD 2,455,413.
The light curve shows no strong evidence for "mid-eclipse brightening" thus far. Now that epsilon Aurigae is getting well separated from the sun, airmass corrections are less a problem, so more accurate photometry is possible. From Mt.Evans this week, we had an exceptional morning for J& H band work, very good signal to noise, but found the brightness was close to that reported during spring 2010 - well into totality.Read more
We are excited to announce the debut of a 7-minute Citizen Sky planetarium show narrated by Timothy Ferris. Please help us share the word and distribute this video far and wide!
The sixth issue of the Citizen Sky Newsletter has been released!
Note: It seems as though the email notification of the Newsletter is going into many people's SPAM folders - especially those who use Gmail. Please take a moment to go into your spam folder and mark the message as "not spam" in order to prevent missing the notification email in the future.
Thanks and take care!
An updated version of the multi-platform, easy-to-use variable star data visualization and analysis tool, VStar, is now available! (To download the new version simply visit the VStar page and click on "Download VStar Now.")
Check out the recent posts by David Benn and Doc Kinne on the VStar Team page for more details on the new release.
We are entering into a very special 2 month interval centered on predicted mid-eclipse, 4 August 2010 (JD 2,455,413 +/- 2 weeks). Some expect a "mid-eclipse brightening" - as much as several tenths of a magnitude - which would demonstrate a substantial central clearing in the dark disk.
Based on what we know from the initial round of interferometric imaging, the disk is so close to edge on, that seeing the "hole in the doughnut" is improbable. However, there are some clues that surprises may await the persistent observer:
- the B star at the center of the disk is a significant source of ultraviolet photons, capable of vaporizing dust, possibly enlarging the central opening;Read more
It's a 3-day weekend for those in the USA. So here is a list of some eclipsing binary stars with expected eclipses this weekend. They are mostly bright so can be seen with the naked eye or binoculars. If you are out this weekend, look up, make a few obs and report them!
For you morning folk, our friend Algol (Beta Per - the Demon Star) will be in eclipse the evening of July 3-4. Mid eclipse is around 4:30am eastern, but it should start dimming around 12:30am or so. You don't have to stay up all night to get the whole eclipse. Just getting the start or end would be fun enough. Algol's chart is in our 10-Star Tutorial. It's brighter then epsilon Aurigae so can easily be seen from the city. Read more