Adler Planetarium - what a splendid astronomical facility - our compliments to Lucy, Larry, Rebecca, Aaron and the CS/Adler gang for hosting a marvelous first Citizen Sky workshop, Aug. 4-7, 2009. Among the many meeting highlights was a report that appears to clinch the evidence for the existence of a cold disk in the system, a chance to meet with many key participants like Arne Henden, the Citizen Sky senior staff and Jeff Hopkins, Gerry Samolyk, Mike Simonsen - veteran observers, as well as meet the newer participants to the project (Hi PJ, Rhonda, Alice, Barry, Bill, Brian, Mark, Niko...). Hopefully everyone who attended came away with new contacts and ideas that will carry us far.Read more
You can now submit your PEP, CCD, and DLSR observations via the Citizen Sky website. Simply click on "Submit" and "Non-Visual" under the Data tab to access the non-visual submission form.
Submitting data via the Citizen Sky website instantly and permanently archives your data in the AAVSO International Database (AID.) Data from the AID are available to anyone at anytime and are frequently used in major research projects. So in effect if you submit your data to Citizen Sky they become available to any researcher out there who would like to use them!Read more
You can now view up to the minute data on the Citizen Sky Website for any of the 10 stars from the 10 Star Tutorial! You have the choice of plotting a light curve or displaying the individual data points in a list. Our web developer Kate has added some neat extra features like the ability to highlight your own observations and the ability to plot means on the light curve. You can find these new features in the "Data" tab under "View."
We have some interesting things coming down the pipeline in the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned for announcements!Read more
Half-way through ingress by most estimates, but epsilon Aurigae continues to confound. Middle of October, the star changed its rate of decline in brightness, from rapid to less rapid - see the visual light curve data link. This change of slope seems to be more pronounced at shorter wavelengths, less pronounced at longer wavelengths. Clues like these will help us define the nature of the eclipsing body more precisely. If purely due to effective area, it says that the disk is slightly thinner-looking in bluer light, relative to red wavelengths. Ultraviolet light curves during last eclipse seem consistent with this trend.Read more
Bounce during totality: have you noticed that epsilon is a bit brighter this month compared to last? Totality is with us, but the Out of Eclipse variations continue. We anticipate a significant brightening starting next month as the central opening in the disk begins crossing in front of the F star...
It's been a pleasure to attend the 5 year science review meeting of the CHARA collaboration (http://www.chara.gsu.edu/CHARA/ ) an amazing group that runs the interferometer atop Mt. Wilson, CA. This 300 meter baseline telescope is capable of delivering milli-arcsecond imaging that has made the details of the epsilon Aur eclipse much more obvious, as has been reported in recent popular articles in Sky & Telescope, Astronomy and Astronomy Now. Read more
We've just posted a new tool on the Citizen Sky web site. Created by colleagues from Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, the epsilon Aurigae Simulator allows the user to manipulate various parameters of the system and view the resulting lightcurve.
Brian has written a tutorial, which offers a quick introduction to the simulator. This is a great chance to read up on all of the recent results on eps Aur and use them to model your own version of the system. Have fun!
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