During the 1983 eclipse something funny happened in the infrared spectrum. In addition to the continuum from the F-star, additional absorption lines started to appear. This doesn't seem that odd until one considers that some of the spectral lines, carbon monoxide (CO) in particular, did not appear until after mid-eclipse. The high resolution spectra obtained during the ecipse also provided some other interesting details, but I'll let you read the paper to find out those tidbits of information. (As an interesting sidenote, the integration times for these spectra were very long. One spectra i particular took 670 minutes! That's a little over 11 hours to get a single spectra!)Read more
This Tuesday night Dr. Stencel and I have four-hours of observing time on NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF) during which we will be observing epsilon Aurigae in the infrared (0.8-5.0 micrometers). I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to offer you a glimpse of what a observing run is like at world-class research facility.
Over the next couple of days I'll be providing details about our observing session. I hope to cover these topics:
- Why we needed the observing time and what we hope to see.
- What goes into getting observing time at a research telescope.
- How we prepare for an observing session.
- How the observations are conducted.
- What the data actually looks like.
- How the data is reduced.
Stay tuned.Read more
We just gave out our first $50 Amazon.com gift card to someone who participated in the signup survey in 2009. So I thought this would be a good time to provide an update and explain what we are doing with this data. A new survey is now being distributed to select people who have been in the project 6 months or longer. So what is it all about?Read more
With the help of the AAVSO staff archivist, I found some unpublished data for epsilon Aurigae dating back to 1900. This is a great example of why your data is so important. Who will be looking at YOUR data in 2120!? Click for light curves and more info...
The central star in the epsilon Aurigae system is like an F-class star. What exactly does that mean? F does not stand for funky, but this forum post gives a basic background for what it does stand for. This is the first in a series of posts about various elements of the eps aur system. Future installments will cover the dusty disk and the central star(s) in the middle of the disk and then how they all interact (if at all).Read more
It's official - we passed into totality during January, perhaps a few days later than predicted. Nonetheless, you can enjoy the view of epsilon fainter than eta or zeta in the Kids asterism, all winter long (between snowstorms).
There is exciting news to announce soon, once publishers accept some epsilon Aurigae results that have been submitted. Stay tuned and keep up the observing reports!Read more
We've posted the transcript to the Feb. 4 chat w/Dr. Dirk Terrell, who chatted about eclipsing binary stars, space art, robotic telescopes and more. Our next chat will probably be dedicated to new Citizen Sky members. Stay tuned for it's announcement.
The original announcement of this chat is below:Read more
Predictions suggested the total eclipse phase of epsilon Aurigae should have arrived as early as mid-December [JD 2,455,190], but observers are still reporting a slow fade even now in late January [JD 2,455,220]! What's going on?
The answer includes the notorious "out of eclipse" variations -OOE- which are still lurking in the eclipse light curve. These have amplitude of one-tenth magnitude (or more) and a quasi period of two or more months. By using a 5 to 10 day mean in plotting the visual light curve data, you can see evidence for at least one local maximum around JD 2,455,160. The excursion from a straight line during ingress is only ~0.05 mag, but it takes only a small size variation or an even smaller temperature variation in the F star to cause that kind of variation.Read more
The chat transcript to the January 12, 2010 chat discussing the remaining questions after the exciting press releases at the AAS meeting is attached as a pdf document to this blog posting. It was really an exciting chat with several good questions being asked! The original chat advertisement follows:Read more