Wednesday, September 28, 2011

100 Years of Astronomy - Congrats AAVSO!!!

This is my personal tribute to the AAVSO, the legacy of an incredible organization, the history and the membership.

Happy 100th Anniversary - See you in Woburn!

Yes we are coming to America.....

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Transient Nova in Scorpius

There was a bit of excitement this week when John Seach set up his camera gear and identified a Transient at magnitude of 9.8 on September 6.37 UT at 16:36:43 -41:32:46 and the AAVSO fired out an Alert.

The notification was posted on the CBAT (Central Bureau for Astronomical Telegrams) Transient Object Confirmation Page

However, it quickly became apparent that the Japanese researcher Nakamura also posted a Transient event at 16 36 44.40 -41 32 34.0 (about 12 pixels away) and noted that the accuracy residuals were within 30" (arcsecs).

Southern observers starved of attention with all the excitement around "northern hemisphere only" SN 2011fe, were quickly on the job. With Ernesto Guido, Nick Howes and Giovanni Sostero on the Faulkes Telescope and Seiichiro Kiyota on Global-Rent-a-scope's G9 telescope between them they confirmed the "halfway mark" at 16:36:44 -41:32:37. By about 10pm (local)Sept 07 there was quite a flurry of telescope activity, and I grabbed some photos and data as well and recorded the object at 10.4 in the V Johnson filter.

All subsequent data has been tied to Nakamura's CBAT telegram and a formal announcement is being constructed. [Formal Release Sun 11 Sept 09:07 UTC - a very detailed document, the object is to be reported as Nova Sco 2011 No. 2 in all observations to AAVSO]

(Note: not all of the above are southern observers ;-) but they visit so frequently we give them honorary southern hemisphere citizenship)

So we have a bright transient in the Southern Hemisphere for all those who are missing out on SN 2011fe action in the north.

The weather itself has been a bit transient so I was unable to get additional data on the 8th. The AAVSO are collating reports and working with CBAT and will post some details shortly.

Preliminary analysis suggests that it is a typical Fe II type Nova. Its important to note that Fe here refers to the presence of strong Fe Lines in the spectra and has nothing to do with the naming convention of the recent Supernova 2011fe.

Still its nice to have our own "Fe" to chase in the southern hemisphere.

Type Fe II Nova's are associated with sudden interstellar reddening.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Stars and Stripes - Supernova and Comet Garradd

Two of the great great favorites of amateur astronomers are Comets and Supernova, Both are stunning all this week, with Garradd and 2011fe now both in reach of binoculars and small telescopes.

In a very busy week, I managed to nab a couple of shots of Comet Garradd and run them through Maxim DL and Photoshop.

A pretty good result, promising to be the best comet of the year.

You can follow some regular updates over at GRAS.

Its also been an amazing week in M101 with a Supernova on the 23rd now pushing magnitude 10.5 and nearing its maxima, the rate of brightening seems to have slowed, I'm expecting it will top out around 10.3m.

This was the shot in the V Johnson filter today with the data submitted to the AAVSO. Over 600 observations from 73 observers now make up the most remarkable light curve ever thanks to the early detection by the Palomar Transient Factory.

M101 is only visible from the Northern Hemisphere, so you'll have to enjoy SN2011fe from here.


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