Hot on the trail...
Greetings from Mount Wilson, home of the 100 inch telescope used by Hubble, and home of the CHARA interferometric array. Brian K and I have been assigned CHARA time with the team to pursue high resolution imaging of epsilon Aur as it undergoes eclipse. With the light 50% diminished (see previous blog), the Huang model predicts that the dark disk should be significantly intruding across the face of the F star.
It has been a bit of an ordeal to simply get here: September was largely a loss for CHARA following the massive Station fire nearby which nearly destroyed the historic facility. Then rains caused rockslides that threatened to demolish the access highway. Finally, as we prepared to depart Denver to head here, a little 18 inch snowfall caused airport shutdown and flight cancellations. Oy vey! However, persistence pays and we are hoping for good observing weather over the next few days, and that the bears, snakes and mountain lions leave us alone. Ideally, we'll obtain useful data - but must ask your patience: reduction and making sense of interferometric data is still an intricate process. Thus it will probably be some time before a pronouncement is possible - but have faith - we'll let everyone know once we are certain.
Meanwhile, it was exciting to see the recent forum post by John Clover sharing the SMEI light curve showing long and short term variations in eps Aur this past few months.