I have started a team for a project I'm going to be working on. This will be a first for me, in a very practical sense, so I'm coming at it rather new despite being surrounded here at the AAVSO by all these experienced people. :-)
Here's the story. A few weeks ago the AAVSO was doing a campaign on M31_V1, the first variable star discovered in M31. I decided to try to get an image of it using the Bradford Robotic Telescope. I got the image, but it didn't show the variable - too faint. So, after plate solving the image I decided to see if there were any other variables in the field. There was - AF And.
I took an estimate and went to submit it to the AAVSO International Database. I found there was absolutely no data on this star in the AID. That really surprised me. Obviously, of course, that doesn't mean there are no data on the star, but still, a star with no data in the AID I thought was potentially pretty special. I thought I might have found a nice star. I have the very worst problem coming up with ideas so, I thought I might have found a star to look at.
I still think that, but after some discussions with Dr. Henden today, things have changed somewhat.
It turns out that one of the reasons we don't have any data in the AID on AF And is that its an extra-galactic variable. Its not just in Andromeda, its in Andromeda! :-) It also looks like it is a Luminous Blue Variable - S Dor type. These variables "bounce around a lot" and don't necessarily exhibit much periodic behavior. I had applied for telescope time in AAVSONet last night and after our discussion, Dr. Henden - correctly for now - turned me down. The faintness of the star is such that good photometry would need about 20 minute exposure times.
But the project is not dead! Doing a quick and dirty lit. review we have reason to suspect that there is very little photometry done for this star, the main hit being a paper by A.S. Sharov in Soviet Astronomy, 34(4), 1990, "Variability of Hubble-Sandage Objects in M31 and M33." There are groups monitoring M31 for novae, and, beyond continuing the lit. review, our next plan of attack is to write to these people to see if we can get access to their data thinking that they may have, or we may be able to extract, photometry for AF And from their data sets and create an extended and contemporary light curve for some analysis.
My goal is to then publish what is found in JAAVSO and to update the VSX entry on the star as appropriate.
Interested? I figure the majority of this work will be lit. review to begin with and then data mining if we get good responses from the M31 nova search teams. Come take a look at http://www.citizensky.org/teams/af-and .
Doc Kinne, KQR