Interesting Side Project

An interesting side project being done by the CBA is to monitor the behavour of certain CV’s prior to the HST observing them.  An outburst could casue damage to the sensitive detectors on the space telescope.

The current target V485 Cen has proven why such programs, even though not producing data themselves are important.  This star had such an outburst just prior to being observed, and was cought by one of the CBA members.  As it happened the star will probably still be observable but it shows how amatures can contribute to astronomy in many ways.

BG CMi

Current target for the CBA is BG CMi, this is an old favourite CV from 2010, nice to observe, and only requries several hours of data at a time, with nice positioning for evening observing.

Observatory after maintenance

JL Observatory is back up and running after some routine maintenance to all parts hardware and software.  The computer has been replaced with a faster model, bearings and gears have been lubed and we are away for a winter observing season.

Next project is to reclad the building, and get ready to replace the roll-off-roof with a dome in the future.  This hopefully followed by the installation of new gear.

Anybody want to buy me a bigger scope?

Safe Solar Viewers

RASNZ (Royal Astronomical Soc of NZ) have a number of safe solar viewers for viewing the upcoming total eclipse of the sun (Nov 14 NZDT).  Go to rasnz.org.nz to purchase these.

They are ideal for viewing the eclipse, and sharing it with others.

This promises to be an exciting and rewarding event, so get your viewer now.

Go HERE to place your order.

Transit of Venus

The day here in Pukekohe started with heavy rain, and did not look promising, however we managed 45 minutes from about C II onwards.

Unfortunatly there was too much wind for the Meade which had a custom filter fitted for the occasion, so we projected the image through an 8″ Dob onto a piece of paper with much success.

Visable were Venus, as well as some sun spots and faculae.

When the clouds rolled back in we continued to follow coverage on NASA TV which provided an excellent programe.  All in all it was a fantastic day, and reports from around the country indicate similar results.

Paper in A&A

The observing campaign on RX1654-19 has resulted in a paper being published in A&A (Astronomy and Astrophysics), authored by S Scaringi et. al.

The paper has appeared in the online version on April 27, and will be published in the June 2011 edition.

This is a great result for the campaign and observatory!

T Pyx

T Pyx, a recurrent nova has erupted, increasing in brightness by many factors.  An international observing campaign has begun, and astronomers are calling for more observers.  Feel free to contact me should you wish to be part of and have the equipment for the campaign; (and ill point you to the right organization; the CBA).

Quasar 3c273

For something a little different I took a picture last night of a Quasar.  A quasar (quasi-stellar-object) is a very active nucleas and supermassive black hole in very early galaxies.

This is about the fartherest ill get to see at 2.18 Giga-lightyears distance (redshift 0.158), dispite its distance, it is very bright.  You can see the Quasar in my pic as the brighter star in the center of the frame, with a small tail on it.

The tail is a jet of very energetic materail being ejected from the supermassive black hole.  It is very faint and normally only seen in photos like this. Click on the image for a larger version so to spot the tail.