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
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
A lot of activity has been happening behind the scenes lately with the CS staff so we have, for the most part, been hiding in the shadows. While I'm waiting for my collaborator on a separate project to call me, I thought I would take a few moments (which, in retrospect, turned out to be several few moments as you can see by the length of this post) to tell you about what is going on.
Over the last few weeks I've collected some of my posts about epsilon Aurigae into one location to make learning about the star a little easier. My literature reviews can now be found in one location and Dr. Bob and I are also collecting recent research highlights into one section. Both of these documents can now be found under the "Communicate" menu in the main navigation menu.
Dr. Bob and I are taking turns explaining the implications of the recent Nature paper. In the first post, Dr. Bob discussed two very important questions: "How big?" and How massive?" In this post, I'm going to cover another big-picture topic: the orientation of the disk.
I'll start with what we thought happened. Most of the literature drew the disk as something that more-or-less bisected the F-star, following Kemp's 1986 drawing (note, a similar drawing was also published in the 1985 epsilon Aurigae conference proceedings):
We will be hosting a chat this Friday, April 9 starting at 16 UT (Noon Eastern, 11:00 AM Central, 10:00 AM Mountain, and 9:00 AM Pacific). This chat is a little different than our previous chats because we have partnered up with Astronomers Without Borders and their Global Astronomy Month project.
This chat will be much like our other "Beginners' Chats" in the past in that the goal will be to answer questions about Citizen Sky, Astronomers without Borders, epsilon Aurigae, and/or astronomy in general. The tone will be tailored to new participants in the project so this is a great chance to find out more about the project without feeling overwhelmed by the scale of the project. Also, Rebecca Turner, the project manager, will be on hand to answer general questions about Citizen Sky.Read more
This weeks' big announcement can now be made, the paper that Dr. Stencel alluded to
is now published (in the April 8 issue of Nature). If you subscribe to Nature, you can access the article here. For those of you who do not have a subscription to Nature, I'll post up the article as submitted to a website and include the link later this week. Until then, say hello to the disk:Read more
I have just posted a literature review to the forums in which I discuss the heated disk model for the eps Aur system.
So far this makes five mini-discussions on eps Aur literature. I've barely scratched the surface so if there is something you are wondering about, let me know and I'll see if I can find an article discussing it!Read more
How the data is reduced.
In short, we use a program developed specifically for reducing spectra from SPEX called SPEXTOOL. It is written in a commonly used programming language for Astronomers called IDL. I'm going to skip over a lot of the details, but in SPEXTOOL there are basically two steps:
- Construct Calibration Frames (for wavelength calibration, flat-field subtraction).
- Extract the spectral orders.