A few nights ago I was working the early morning hours doing NEO follow-up when I happened upon an interesting variable star. The star seem to brighten within a few minutes then it decayed brightness over a 1/2 hour or so to its previous level. I thought it a nice specimen of a flare star after producing a light curve through Maxim DL software for the 2 hour period. Thing is, I can’t find it in flare star or even variable star catalogs. So It might be previously unknown. Either way I’m quite sure its a flare star (which generally are red dwarf stars with a very unpredictable rate). I’m going to try and monitor it again but it’s possible it only flares a few times a year, or months, or days, or who knows? Without more observations we be able won’t find a frequency. Right now it’s only up high enough 2-3 hours before dawn. But as we get into early 2017 it will be up longer in the night sky. RA = 12 35 39.6 Dec 39 00 30.3. It’s normal pre-flare magnitude is around 18.8 R. Flare peak is about 16.8 R
I’m nearly finished with the Tombaugh extension. The total weight is about 80lbs including the focuser and the secondary assembly (does not include any eyepieces or cameras.) The height is 32 inches and the width 36″. The secondary will set about 12″ inside the last octagonal ring so there is no need to use a light block extended past the tube. The only difference will be the focuser and the secondary mirror will be 1 1/2 to 2″ closer to the primary than that shown in the picture.
I’m getting the cage assembly sand blasted this week and taking it to be powder-coated (flat black). If all goes well we could use the Tombaugh visually by the new moon in late November…
Fall Target – M33
A recent image of M33, (the Triangulum Galaxy) 20 minutes long taken 8-3-16 at Sandlot . It’s a great target for fall observing. It’s over 1/2 degree wide and has a multitude of obvious nebulae. (Enhanced more so in a a color image.) It’s a relatively close-by galaxy at a distance of 3 million Lt. Yrs.
I’ve uploaded a slice of an image showing the spectra of the Ring Nebula (M57). It was taken with the club’s Rainbow Optics 200 lines/mm grating and my 80 mm ED Apogee Refractor. The image duration was 37 minutes taken on 4-14-2026. The ring at zero order is at the bottom and the blue and red ghost images near the top are a result of mainly oxygen (blue) and a combination of Nitrogen and Hydrogen (red).
This from a 3 ” refactor, just imagine what the 27″ Tombaugh can do..
Comet C/2013 US10 is currently in the morning just north a few degrees of Venus. It is starting to fade from its current 5.0 Magnitude. This image was taken with a Cannon EOS Rebel and a stock (non-L) lens.
The camera and lens was mounted on a StarSync Tracker. (local manufacturer)
Its a 2 minute image taken December 9th at 300 mm focal length that shows both gas and dust tail separated by a large angle. G. Hug
Kansas University Observational astronomy class meet at Farpoint for an all-night observing run Oct 24th.
We were surprised that the water was turned off at the school (and therefore at Farpoint.) I had to make a quick run to Topeka to pick several 2.5 gal water jugs to use for toilet flushing. There was an apparent leak on the water line just after it left the school so they the shut the water off. I just wish they would have notified us prior to having 10 students and a crock pot of white chili!! The picture has most of the students that made the all-nighter at Farpoint.
The night of August 12th (and morning of the 13th) should be a great time to view the Perseids from Farpoint Observatory. Every year at roughly the same day the earth moves through the dusty tail of comet Swift-Tuttle. The Perseid meteor shower usually produces about 50 -60 meteors per hour and at peak can deliver near 100/hour. This year the peak happens when the radiant is as high as it gets about 3:00 AM August 13th. The moon is completely out of the way too, being just a day or so of new. I plan to be there all night and I invite everyone to join in. Bring your sleeping bag or lawn chair preferably one that folds back horizontally, warmer clothes than you might think for mid August, bug spray, and if so inclined a camera (particularly with a wide field lens). All night restroom, coffee, etc will be available. It’ll be many years before we get another chance for an optimal Perseid shower.
The general public is also invited to join in, but please leave those bright white flashlights at home. Dark adaptation is key for meteor shower enjoyment..