(cba:news) [Fwd: USCO2009 Collaboration overview]

Joe Patterson jop at astro.columbia.edu
Fri May 16 22:13:19 EDT 2008

Dear CBAers,

Here's the latest info concerning Brad Schaefer's attempt to cover the 
next U Sco outburst.  Nothing to do till it outbursts, but it's nice to 
be ready.  The most important photometry is likely to be in the first 2 
days, since it's *extremely* fast.


-------- Original Message --------
Subject: USCO2009 Collaboration overview
Date: Fri, 16 May 2008 14:33:36 -0500 (CDT)
From: Brad Schaefer <schaefer at grb.phys.lsu.edu>
To: Andrew Collazzi <acolla2 at lsu.edu>, Arne Henden <arne at aavso.org>, 
Ashley Pagnota <apagno1 at lsu.edu>,	Ben Sugerman 
<ben.sugerman at goucher.edu>,	Bill Sparks <sparks at stsci.edu>, Brad 
Schaefer <schaefer at lsu.edu>,	Brian Warner <warner at physci.uct.ac.za>, 
"Christopher L. Gerardy" <gerardy at physics.fsu.edu>,	Dan Green 
<dgreen at cfa.harvard.edu>,	Dan Reichart <reichart at physics.unc.edu>,	David 
Buckley <dibnob at saao.ac.za>,	David K Lynch <David.K.Lynch at aero.org>, 
Eric Schlegel <eric.schlegel at utsa.edu>,	Fred Ringwald 
<ringwald at csufresno.edu>,	Fred Walter <fwalter at astro.sunysb.edu>, 
"Howard E. Bond" <bond at stsci.edu>,	Howie Marion 
<hman at astro.as.utexas.edu>,	Joe Patterson <jop at astro.columbia.edu>, 
Jonathan Kemp <jk at cbastro.org>,	Matthew Templeton 
<matthewt at aavso.org>,	Patrick Woudt <Patrick.Woudt at uct.ac.za>,	Rob 
Robinson <elr at astro.as.utexas.edu>

	The recurrent nova U Sco will soon be erupting, with the eruption
being expected next spring, but it could go up any night now (2009.3+-1.0;
Schaefer 2005, ApJLett, 621, L53).  Here is an overview of current plans
and capabilities for the USCO2009 Collaboration.  We have a grand set of
capabilities that cover everything.  This email is so we all know the
bigger picture.

	Here is a summary of the capabilities that we already have in

Pre-eruption	ROTSE 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d	
Pre-eruption	AAVSO
Pre-eruption	CTIO 1.3m
Optical		CTIO 1.3m		CTIO 1.5m	PROMPT
Optical		CBA (fast time-series)
UV		Swift			Swift
X-ray		Swift			Swift

In all, we'll get great photometry and spectra all the way from 10 keV to
3 microns (with only a gap in the EUV) and with time resolutions from
hourly to nightly.  If circumstances are good, this eruption of U Sco will
be by far the best observed nova event ever.  And this is all because we
know *which* star will have a nova eruption and an approximate time for
that eruption.
	For the pre-eruption time interval, we have the four ROTSE
telescopes worldwide (Australia, Texas, Namibia, and Turkey) each checking
once an hour.  For example, in the last week (with average cloudiness and
such), we are getting an average of 17 images per day well-spaced around
the clock with most images just barely showing U Sco in quiescence.  We
also have the CTIO 1.3m getting accurate photometry every 5 days.  But
these images are not being automatically checked, so the real discovery
will almost certainly come from AAVSO observers.  Notification that U Sco
is up will go to AAVSO Headquarters (monitored roughly 24/7) or possibly
the CBAT (with Dan Green and colleagues on fast checking).  The full
instructions for starting all our observing plans will be handled by
myself and/or Ashley Pagnotta (or AAVSO Headquarters if we cannot be
	I have attached to this email the instructions that we will be
operating with.  (Non-public phone numbers and such have been partially
'X'd out as appropriate.)  The purpose of passing this along to everyone
is to allow full knowledge of the bigger picture.  Also, it is important
that you look over the instructions relating to yourself and alert me to
any changes or errors.  I have also attached a WORD document that contains
a set of finder charts for U Sco, with many specific comparison stars
identified and BVRIJHK magnitudes for these.
	We had decided against an HST proposal as the calculations
suggested that the shell would be too faint, and since a shallow image
from 1999 showed no shell.  We think that Chandra and GALEX are not a good
data source due to its slowness for reaction and the small amount of time
that anyone could get.  (Swift is just so perfect for us.)  We realize
that there is no need to propose for big telescope time, as U Sco will be
too bright, and as high spectral resolution is not needed due to the >5000
km/s expansion velocities smearing out all narrow features.  A capability
missing here is any radio measures, but for this I do not know either what
to expect nor any reason to look in radio.  Perhaps the joint experience
of people on this email can suggest a good science expectation and the
best way to proceed.  Another need is that we have little redundancy, so
clouds at CTIO or elsewhere could substantially hurt the coverage
(especially in the first week).  So I would welcome any further
collaborators for USCO2009.  In particular, I can imagine that MONET (a
remotely controlled {possibly automated} 1.2m pair of telescopes in Texas
and South Africa) and the CV group in South Africa would both relish the
	As for the politics of the USCO2009 collaboration, there are only
the normal imperatives.  People are free to publish their data as they
will, with whatever appropriate authors on the author list.  We will have
one-or-more omnibus papers for which I expect that all our data will be
freely included.  In the end, for a well-timed U Sco eruption date, we
will have a WOW! set of data.


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