(cba:news) happy festivus!

Joe Patterson jop at astro.columbia.edu
Wed Jan 14 11:39:26 EST 2004

A little late for the new year, early for the Chinese... so we'll keep
it international, secular, and just sort of general and solistitial.

Almost a month since the last message!  Both dwarf novae of December have
faded: UZ Boo and SDSS0137-09.  The former was really haunted by poor sky
position; I have high hopes of measuring the orbital period next week at
Kitt Peak... and we have Psh... but we'll just have to see how that goes.
The latter was really good, with fine data sets from Berto, Greg, Arto,
and Dave Messier, as well as MDM and SAAO.  I've sent the data off to
Retha Pretorius (now *there's* an ethnic name!) at SAAO for write-up.

Time to change the menu.  AH Men has been having its best year - belting
out some healthy superhumps, and under the watchful gaze of CBAers (Bill
Allen, Jennie McCormick, Grant Christie, Bob Rea  - the usual Kiwi
stalwarts - and Tom Richards).  We're up to 90 days coverage, and will
probably keep going for another ~30.  Very much worth keeping the faith!

But plenty of new southern targets too.  Here goes.

RX0354-16 ("Eri" in the Downes catalogue).  About 15.7, and showing about
a 90 minute wave in the light curve.  We've gotten some runs from Kitt
Peak, but GREATLY need runs from other longitudes to break the alias.  A
very good early-night target for a couple weeks, though probably needing a
pretty good quality night.

V436 Car (0744-52) and WX Pyx (0833-22).  Fairly new stars, i.e. newly
recognized to be of very high interest, mainly because of rapid coherent
pulsations in their light curves.  I don't know much about either, but
should be CBA green-light specials.  Pick the one you like and fire away
with gusto (and with long runs).  Tis the season for Carina and Pyx,
remanants of the old Argo Navis constellation.

Finally, EX Hya.  A tad early in the season, but early-season timings of
its 67-minute variation would be mighty useful (bigger campaign coming in

And now for the NORTH...

WX Pyx and RX0354-16 are accessible southern stars... and since we still
have no regular South American coverage, we rely on southern U.S.
observers to anchor down that node in longitude!  The U.S. presence in the
CBA has gotten low recently, and I hope some people will help on these

A happier declination is possessed by SDSS0809+38, a star about 15-16
which appears to be a short-period (2.4 hr) SW Sex binary.  Another
newcomer to the CV stage, and right up our alley - likely to show
superhumps, possibly other more rapid oscillations, and transiting local
meridians around midnight in late January.  A very, very tempting target
for long runs.

FS Aur also should stay on the menu.  It doesn't get much action, mostly
because it's still a star utterly resisting classification - showing a
3.4 hr photometric wave which no one has a clue how to interpret.  I have
no better idea than anyone else, but we sure oughta keep on top of the

Happy star-gazing!


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