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Alert Notice 583: Photometry requested for Red Dots campaign

June 16, 2017:  John Strachan (Queen Mary University of London) and Dr. Guillem Anglada-Escude (Queen Mary University of London) have requested AAVSO assistance in the monitoring of three M dwarf stars as part of the Red Dots campaign.

Strachan writes: "The aim of the Red Dots campaign is to find exoplanets orbiting around three M-Dwarf stars in the solar neighbourhood. This campaign is a follow up to the very successful Pale Red Dot campaign from last year which resulted in the discovery of exoplanet Proxima b. The campaign runs from 19th June to 5th October and the three stars being observed are GJ729 (V1216 Sgr), Proxima Centauri (V645 Cen), and Barnard’s star (V2500 Oph).

"The campaign involves the use of the HARPS high resolution spectroscope in ESO's La Silla Observatory in Chile in order to obtain radial velocity measurements for the stars. In addition, photometric observations will be performed from the LCOGT, MONET-N, MONET-S, MONTSEC, ASH and ASH2 observatories as well as  voluntary amateur astronomer participation. The photometric data will be used to monitor activity on the stars as well as identify exoplanet transits.

"The most urgent requirement we have for photometry is for the active star GJ729 where we would like to obtain as close to 24 hour per day coverage so that we can understand its activity and be able to disentangle this activity from any exoplanet signals that may be present. Observations should be done in the V-band and the attached file [see link below] details the requirements for the photometry to be carried out including comparison stars to be used and the format of the data we require. The files are in AAVSO extended format so should be uploaded to the AAVSO as normal. An example file is also attached showing the format [see link below].

"We are currently in the process of setting up a website for the campaign. The URL for the web site is and the web site is due to go live at the start of the campaign on the 19th June. The website will be regularly updated with progress on the campaign including logs detailing the spectroscopic and photometric observations along with articles and news. In particular we aim to include the photometric contributions from the AAVSO members on the website. The website will also have a forum on it where you are free to ask questions and have discussions with fellow astronomers on the campaign.

"This is an exciting opportunity to work alongside professional astronomers on an international campaign in our hopes to find earth-like rocky exoplanets in the solar neighbourhood and I hope you will be as excited at participating in it as we are."

V photometry is requested from now through 2017 October 5.

Coordinates (2000.0)
GJ729 (V1216 Sgr):  R.A. 18 49 49.36  Dec. -23 50 10.4
Proxima Centauri (V645 Cen):  R.A. 14 29 33.15  Dec. -62 40 31.5
Barnard’s star (V2500 Oph):  R.A. 17 57 48.49  Dec. +04 41 36.2

Observers may download the file containing the finder charts, comparison stars, and data file format instructions here:

Please use only these charts and comparison stars to make observations for this campaign.

A sample data file (WebObs Extended Format) is here:

An AAVSO discussion forum thread on this campaign has been created at


This AAVSO Alert Notice was compiled by Elizabeth O. Waagen using material provided by John Strachan.


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