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AAVSO Alert Notice 566: Beta Pic observations requested for BRITE-Constellation

January 31, 2017 : The BRIght Target Explorer-Constellation (BRITE-Constellation) satellite suite is obtaining high-precision photometry of selected very bright (mv < 4) stars. Its purpose is to investigate the "stellar structure and evolution of the brightest stars in the sky and their interaction with the local environment." The AAVSO is part of the BRITE-Constellation Ground Based Observations Team (GBOT), supporting cutting-edge science from the BRITE-Constellation satellites and coordinating with BRITE-Constellation scientist Dr. Konstanze Zwintz (Universitaet Innsbruck) and her team.

The delta Scuti star beta Pic (NSV 16683) (3.80-3.86V) is one of the BRITE stars being focused on during this season. Bet Pic is particularly interesting now because a transit of the star's planet's Hill sphere (the region around a planet in which it dominates the attraction of satellites) is predicted to occur during 2017-2018. Ongoing observations beginning now are valuable to establish a baseline prior to the transit.

The AAVSO’s webpage on the BRITE target stars was updated in November with information on bet Pic from Dr. Zwintz. AAVSO observers with appropriate equipment and located at a southern enough latitude are encouraged to observe bet Pic. Its brightness makes bet Pic well suited to PEP and DSLR photometry; CCD photometry is also possible. However, great care must be taken by all observers, especially those using CCD, to avoid saturation. As the amplitude of this star is very small, visual observations are very difficult, but they are welcome.

Multicolor (BVR) photometry better than 0.01 magnitude and time-series observations with a cadence of a few minutes (less than 10 minutes) are requested beginning now and continuing at least through 2017 and likely through 2018. The precision and cadence required are essential in order for the data to be most useful for studying the transit.

Spectroscopists wishing to participate should submit their spectra directly to Dr. Konstanze Zwintz (konstanze.zwintz@uibk.ac.at).

Another campaign on bet Pic that is underway is being coordinated by Dr. Iva Laginja (Leiden Observatory, The Netherlands), and AAVSO observations are invited. For details, please see http://home.strw.leidenuniv.nl/~laginja/documents/beta%20Pic%20photometry_ENG.pdf

Coordinates for bet Pic: 05 47 17.09 -51 03 59.4  (2000.0)

Charts: Charts with a comparison star sequence for bet Pic may be created using the AAVSO Variable Star Plotter (VSP).

Please submit observations to the AAVSO International Database using the name BET PIC.

This campaign is being monitored on the AAVSO Observing Campaigns webpage and is being followed on the Campaigns and Observation Reports Forum at https://www.aavso.org/content/bet-pic-brite-observing-campaign.

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

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