(cba:news) december stars

Joe Patterson jop at astro.columbia.edu
Sat Dec 3 07:14:45 EST 2005

Dear CBAers,

There's lots to report...

But you're not gonna like it.

I'm always reluctant to tout the faintest stars on our program as the most
interesting... since these stars produce the noisiest light curves, and in
general also lack the headline glamor of ERUPTIONS.  But last month and
this, the best targets have been a couple of bookend stars - south and
north at approximately 2335+/-39 and magnitude 16.5 - which lack the
panache of the glamor boys of past campaigns.  But the scientific impact
of this year's data is likely to be very, very great.

The northern star is HS2331+39 ("And"), targeted by Tom Krajci and Lew
Cook.  The data has been very good despite the star's faintness, refining
Porb and proving a quiescent superhump.  But we still have no significant
data from longitudes outside the western USA, so we have 24-hour aliasing
uncertainties.  Any help from Europe forthcoming?  If the weather stays
good in the western USA, even a little coverage from Europe will entirely
solve the problem; if it gets cloudy here, well, then a somewhat bigger
effort is needed.

And the southern star is BW Scl.  Ditto all around - same magnitude, same
position with declination flipped, same place in CV evolution (last-chance
saloon), same scientific result (quiescent superhump), same analysis
problem (aliasing).  Pretty good weather now in NZ, where Bob Rea and
Grant Christie are working hard on it, and greatly in need of coverage
from other longitudes.  Even Australia would be mighty good!

My top recommendation for northern post-midnight coverage is FS Aur, with
"Tau 2" (0400+06) as a close second choice.

In the south. I have three recommendations.  I'd like to promote Tau 2 as
first choice - since with S and N coverage we can actually span the globe
(separately we never manage that, almost always lacking Asia in the north
and South America in the south).  But for 200 years (or more) southern
astronomers have been mighty reluctant to look north - maybe on the same
general theory that motivates people to commit crimes in their own
neighborhoods.  So if your telescope is reluctant to point north, I
recommend WX Hyi and VW Hyi.  We'll be undertaking a series of studies of
dwarf novae at quiescence, and these are awfully good stars to start with!

Finally I'd like to emphasize again that we'll have a CBA meeting
coincident with (and within) the SAS (IAPPP-West) meeting in Big Bear
Lake, CA.  More or less the same place as Big Bear City, in case you're
trying to locate it.  You don't have to register, commit, pay, etc. for
the CBA component, but you do have to register normally for the SAS
meeting.  You can do that on their website - and Jerry Foote can give you
more info if you need it.

There are many astronomical and recreational side-trips feasible from Big
Bear, and I'll organize some (probably including one to Mt Palomar).  But
I also have observing time on Kitt Peak adjacent to the meeting dates...
and if you have a little extra time, you might want to consider flying to
Tucson and spending a coupla nights at the observatory.  I'm likely to
be a pretty decent tour guide - I used to do it for a living! And late May
weather in southern Arizona is very, very good.  Let me know your thoughts
on this.


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