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News and Announcements

04 April Alert Notice 456: Monitoring of V854 Cen Requested

April 4, 2012: Bram Ochsendorf (Leiden Observatory, Netherlands) has requested monitoring by AAVSO observers of the R CrB variable V854 Cen in support of observations to be made using the XSHOOTER instrument on the Very Large Telescope (VLT) of the European Southern Observatory's La Silla Paranal Observatory in Chile. Ochsendorf and colleagues have already observed V854 Cen at maximum and now need to observe it during a fading episode.

04 April VStar Version 2.13 release

Its been more than a year and many "test versions" in the making, but a new and much improved version of VStar (Version 2.13) is now formally available. To read more about VStar and download a copy, please visit the VStar overview page and click the "Download VStar Now" button. 

03 April Online Talk w/Sky & Telescope Editor Bob Naeye

April 6, 2012 Update: The talk is over and went very well. We had a max of around 22 participants and the interaction with Bob was very informative. We attempted to record the talk using the built-in recording feature of the webinar software we are using (GoToWebinar by Citrix). It created a Windows Media Video (.wmv) file that plays correctly on a few Windows computers we tested on. However, when we tested it on OS X machines using a wide variety of video players we could never get it to fully work. We also attempted to upload it to YouTube and their software rejected the format as well. So we can't promise it will work on all computers. We are investigating alternatives for recording future webinars.

Click here to download a recording of the talk (170MB WMV file).

(There is some technical chit chat at the beginning - you may want to skip 5-10 minutes into the recording for the good stuff)


28 March Special Notice #273: Possible Nova in Ophiuchus = PNV J17260708-2551454

March 28, 2012:  A possible nova in Ophiuchus was announced on the IAU CBAT Transient Objects Confirmation Page (TOCP) page with the name PNV J17260708-2551454. It was discovered by H. Nishimura (Shizuoka-ken, Japan) at unfiltered magnitude 12.1 on 2012 March 25.789 UT on three frames using Canon 200-mm f/3.2 lens + Canon EOS 5D Digital Camera. Spectra suggest that the object is an Fe II-type classical nova.

Coordinates: 17 26 07.01  -25 51 42.69 (J2000.0)

28 March Special Notice #272: Possible Nova in Centaurus = PNV J13410800-5815470

28 March 2012:  A possible nova in Centaurus was announced on the IAU CBAT Transient Objects Confirmation Page (TOCP) page with the name PNV J13410800-5815470. It was discovered by John Seach (Chatsworth Island, NSW, Australia) at magnitude 9.2 on 2012 March 23.386 UT using a DSLR with 50 mm f/1.0 lens. Spectra indicate that the object is a classical nova.

Nothing was seen by him down to magnitude 11.0 on his survey images taken on 2012 Mar. 16.396 UT.

27 March Special Notice #271: Correction to AAVSO Special Notice #270

March 27, 2012:  In the email version of AAVSO Special Notice #270 (Possible Recurrent Nova in the LMC = TCP J04550000-7027150), the discovery magnitude was given as U=10.7. It should have been given as unfiltered magnitude 10.7.

We extend our apologies for the error.

This AAVSO Special Notice was compiled by Elizabeth O. Waagen.

27 March Special Notice #270: Possible Recurrent Nova in the LMC = TCP J04550000-7027150

March 27, 2012:  A possible nova in the LMC discovered at unfiltered magnitude 10.7 on 2012 March 26.397 UT (name of discoverer not given) was reported on the IAU CBAT Transient Objects Confirmation Page (TOCP). Spectra indicate the object may be a recurrent nova.

J. Hambsch reports that as of March 28.04 UT, the object appears to be fading fast and is at least one magnitude fainter than 24 hours ago.

Coordinates (2000.0):

24 March Special Notice #269: SUPERNOVA 2012aw IN M95 (NGC 3351) = PSN J10435372+1140177

March 24, 2012:  Most of the information in this Special Notice was announced in IAU CBAT CBET 3054 (Daniel W. E. Green, Ed.). Three independent discoveries of SN 2012aw in M95 are reported:

23 March Special Notice #268: Chandra observations scheduled for CH Cyg and monitoring urgently needed

23 March 2012: The Chandra X-ray satellite observations of the symbiotic variable CH Cyg have been scheduled as part of Dr. Margarita Karovska's (Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics) campaign. Please see AAVSO Alert Notice 454 and AAVSO Special Notice #267 for complete details on this observing campaign. The HST observations of CH Cyg have already been made.

16 March Alert Notice 455: V834 CAR = Nova Car 2012 = TCP J10502000-6406480

March 16, 2012: V834 CAR = Nova Car 2012 = TCP J10502000-6406480

Discovered by: John Seach, Chatsworth Island, NSW, Australia

Discovery Magnitude: 10.2 on 3 images with digital SLR, 50 mm f/1.0 lens

Discovery date: 2012 February 26.543 UT

Coordinates: RA 10 50 19.66  Dec. -64 06 46.7 (J2000.0)
Coordinates from A. Oksanen and C. Harlingten (see Note b).

16 March Solar Bulletin - Volume 68, Number 2

The February 2012 Solar Bulletin is now available.

15 March Special Notice #267: HST observations of CH Cyg scheduled and monitoring urgently needed

March 15, 2012:  As announced in AAVSO Alert Notice 454 (, Dr. Margarita Karovska, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, has requested multiband photometry (all possible bands), high-speed photometry, spectroscopy, and visual observations of the symbiotic variable CH Cyg in support of HST and Chandra observations. She is studying the central region of CH Cyg and its jet.

14 March New eJAAVSO preprint: Effect of Online Sunspot Data on Visual Solar Observers by K. Larsen

New eJAAVSO preprint (ej155): "The Effect of Online Sunspot Data on Visual Solar Observers" by K. Larsen

10 March Dr. John Percy Wins CASCA's inaugural Qilak Award


09 March Charts and Sequences Update March 2012

New data released from the AAVSO Photometric All Sky Survey (APASS) has allowed us to revise, repair and update many reported chart errors as well as create new sequences for variable star sequence requests and regions of the sky previously lacking reliable photometry. As a result, the following stars have new or revised sequences, and you should update your records accordingly.

06 March New eJAAVSO preprint: "Recent Minima of 150 EB Stars" by G. Samolyk

"Recent Minima of 150 Eclipsing Binary Stars" by G. Samolyk

03 March Aviso Especial de AAVSO #266: Posible Nova en Carina (TCP J10502000-6406480)

03 March Special Notice #266: Possible Nova in Carina (TCP J10502000-6406480)

3 March 2012:  John Seach, Chatsworth Island, NSW, Australia, reports his discovery of a possible nova in Carina on 2012 February 26.543 UT at magnitude 10.2 on 3 images with digital SLR, 50 mm f/1.0 lens. No object was seen at the location on survey images taken on February 23.424 UT 2012. A possible image of the nova was seen at magnitude 11 (limit of visibility) on an image taken on February 25.733 UT 2012. Seach reports no object was seen on the POSS2 red image, and no variable star, comet, or minor planet was reported at the position.

02 March Alert Notice 454: Monitoring of CH Cyg requested for Chandra and HST observations

March 2, 2012:  Dr. Margarita Karovska, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, has requested visual and photometric observations of the symbiotic variable CH Cyg in preparation for and support of Chandra and HST observations scheduled for later in March 2012. Dr. Karovska's observations will be a followup investigation of the central region of CH Cyg and its jet that was discovered a couple of years ago. AAVSO observations are requested in order to monitor the state of the system and correlate with the satellite observations.

01 March Two New CHOICE Classes Announced: Light Curves and CCD Imaging

Registration is open for two new CHOICE classes to begin in May. The classes are:

Registration can be done via the online store page here.

More information on the CHOICE program is here.

01 March Special Notice #265: Bright Symbiotics in Sgr, Cyg, and Oph

March 3, 2012: Observer S. O'Connor reported late last week that the symbiotic stars V4018 Sgr, CH Cyg, and V2523 Oph all appeared to be in outburst or brighter than normal.  He reports: V4018 Sgr at V=11.59 on JD 2455981.021 (2012 Feb 23.521); CH Cyg at V=7.30 on 2455982.976 (Feb 25.476); and V2523 Oph at V=11.67 on 2455981.0 (Feb 23.5).  Other more recent visual observations of CH Cyg by G. Holmberg (vis=7.6 on 2455983.4993) and D. Barrett (vis=7.4 on 2455985.6013) confirm the star is well above magnitude 8.0 at this time.

29 February AAVSO Bulletin 75 for 2012

Predicted Dates of Maxima and Minima of 381 Long Period Variables for 2012

27 February Blog Post about Foster Brunton Updated

I've updated the staff blog post about Foster Brunton and his experience in Guam in WW2. We received a lot of nice feedback on the article and I added some additional information about Mr. Brunton that we received.

23 February Visual Observing Manual in Persian

The Manual for Visual Observing of Variable Stars is now available in Persian (Farsi).

23 February Alert Notice 453: Monitoring of S Dor requested for multiwavelength campaign

February 23, 2012:  Dr. Noel Richardson, Georgia State University, has requested monitoring of the luminous blue variable (LBV) prototype S Doradus as part of a multiwavelength campaign he is coordinating to study the photosphere of this star. At present the observations planned include:

1. UV Spectroscopy from HST
2. Optical spectroscopy from CTIO and an amateur in Australia
3. Near-IR Spectroscopy from SOAR (pending approval)
4. Mid-IR photometry from Gemini (pending approval)

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