A new version of Zapper has just been released! Actually, not a lot has changed but I did want to let everyone know that Zapper will no longer display differential magnitudes or unreduced step-magnitudes (which appear as 0.0 magnitude observations in the AAVSO International Database). To get this latest version please go here: http://www.aavso.org/zapper and download it. This page will also describe what Zapper is and how to use it for those of you who have no idea what I am talking about! Continue Reading
Some weeks just fly past you. Friday comes and you wonder, "What happened to Wednesday and Thursday?" This was another one of those weeks.
I arrived in Cambridge late Sunday night and slogged into headquarters Monday morning in what can only be described as a miserable, relentless, pouring rain. The precipitation pounding on the roof of HQ provided the backdrop to numerous meetings, brainstorming sessions, projects and activities. Continue Reading
Astronomers are constantly looking into the past. No matter where you look out into space you are seeing things as they were minutes, hours or millions of years ago. Even at 186,000 miles per second, it takes eight minutes for light to reach us from the Sun. It takes four and a half years for light to reach us from the next nearest star, and millions or billions of years to reach us from other galaxies. So astronomers spend a great deal of time looking into the past.
But astronomers also have to look forward, and make predictions about the future. In order to keep astronomical research pushing at the forefront of our knowledge, astronomers need to predict what new areas of research and technology will help answer the pressing science questions of the next decade, and how much it will cost to build the telescopes, spacecraft and experiments needed to unlock the secrets of our Universe. And since it is impossible to pay for everything, someone has to prioritize which projects will get the biggest bang for the bucks in the coming decade. Continue Reading
We've been busy during the monsoon shutdown of the APASS system, processing images and preparing for the first formal release of photometry from this AAVSO system. Continue Reading
We are now accepting applications for a new position at the AAVSO HQ in Cambridge, MA. Please consult the job description via the American Astronomical Society's Job Register at the link below.
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Looking through the MyNewsFlash data coming in the last few days, and then examining the quick look data and recent light curve, it appears V391 Lyrae may be acting peculiar. It looks like it could be going into outburst, but it's taking its good sweet time about it. I'd like to see more data in the coming weeks. Not necessarily time series but maybe two or three times per night unless you see it dramatically rising to outburst.
Welcome to the new AAVSO web site, our first new redesign since 2003. Click here to read about it via our announcement on the AAVSO Discussion Group.
This page is to list bugs that we are aware of and their status. Report any bugs not on the list either via this form or by e-mailing email@example.com. We will update this list throughout the weekend as bugs reports come in and as we address them. This list is in order of time received:
Question: When is a supernova not a supernova?
Answer: Now that's an interesting story...
It all started on Christmas night 2005, when astronomers using the Katzman Automatic Imaging Telescope (KAIT) in California discovered an apparent supernova not far from the center of the elliptical galaxy NGC 2274. There was nothing there on an image they had taken two weeks prior. Twelve hours later, Astronomers at the National Astronomical Observatory of China confirmed the 18th magnitude object was real. It was named SN2005md and the discovery was announced in CBET #332 on December 26.
A spectrogram taken on December 28 showed it to be most probably a "young Type-II supernova". This was announced in an IAU Circular (8650) on the 29th of December. Subsequent KAIT images showed that SN2005md faded rather quickly and it was fainter than magnitude 19.8 by January 2006.
Normally that would be the end of the story, but this time it wasn't. Continue Reading
The new AAVSO website has a section devoted to information and tools for Researchers -- those who are interested in using the AAVSO International Database in their research work, and those who are interested in obtaining new observational data. At the top of the main page, you will find a link marked Researchers that will take you to the new AAVSO Research Portal. Continue Reading
While it is undisputed that telescopes are the sexy instruments in astronomy, more and more the bulk of the work is going on with computers. The telescopes may gather the light - and they do that well - but once the light is gathered, its the computers that tend to take over. Continue Reading