Observational Highlights for October 2010
Suddenly the leaves are off the trees and carved pumpkin symbols abound - we've reached another "quarter-cross" day, which means half way between seasons. Halloween (or more properly, All Saint's Day during late Oct and early Nov mark the time half-way between the autumn equinox and winter solstice. You know other quarter-cross days as Groundhog's Day (Feb.2), May Day (May 1) and more causally, the Dog Days of early August (connected with the heliacal rising of Sirius).
All of these timings relate to epsilon Aurigae, now in its 14th month of eclipse! Given the 18 month duration of eclipse, late July 2010 marked mid-eclipse. We are curiously seeing a quasi-regular 60 day variation since Feb 2010 (can you see this in our collected Citizen Sky light curve?). Many want to associate this with pulsation of the F star, and the uniform darkness of the disk as seen in the interferometric images supports the notion. Currently epsilon Aurigae has been fading again, so watch for an upturn during Nov.
In addition to the fine record being compiled here at C Sky, additional data have been collected lately with the SpeX near-infrared spectrometer at the NASA IRTF, with the IRAC camera on the Spitzer Space Telescope, images at the CHARA Array, and near-infrared photometry was scheduled with the CLIO camera at the Multi-Mirror Telescope. All these data are being processed and a new suite of late eclipse reports are in the works.
Thank you for your continuing interest in Citizen Sky. As we approach the new year, keep up the observing. Egress is predicted to begin in mid-March and may prove to be rapid.
Also, best wished to Aaron Price in his dissertation defense on Election Day. Vote!