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Alert Notice 643: Monitoring for Red Dots #2 campaign

July 25, 2018: John Strachan (Ph.D. candidate, 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 #2 campaign.

Strachan writes: "The aim of the Red Dots #2 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 which resulted in the discovery of exoplanet Proxima b and last year's Red Dots campaign for which the scientific work in identifying exoplanet candidates is currently ongoing. The Red Dots #2 campaign runs from [now] to 10th October and the three stars being observed are detailed below.

Name RA (2000) Dec (2000) Proper motions (mas/yr) Range Spectrum
NSV 14420 = GJ 887* 23 05 52.04 -35 51 11.1 6765.995 1330.388 [0.071 0.076 90] V=7.32-7.37 M2V

* very high proper motion star; 'e' or 'f' scale chart recommended

GJ 1061** 03 35 59.70 -44 30 45.7 745.286 -373.673 [0.118 0.138 90] V=13.07 M5.5V

** high proper motion star

YZ CET = GJ 54.1*** 01 12 30.64 -16 59 56.3 1208.53 640.73 [5.57 3.71 0] V=12.03-12.18 M5.5Ve

*** high proper motion star; 'e' or 'f' scale chart recommended

"Regular observations of all stars in the V band are required to look for photometric variability and exoplanet transits. CCD or PEP should be used; DSLR should not be used [due to the red leak in typical RGB filters]. Observations should be recorded in the AAVSO database in the standard format.

"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 OSN, MONET-S 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.

"We have set up a website for this campaign. The URL for the web site is http://www.reddots.space and contains further details of the three stars to be observed.

"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 in solid blocks of 10 to 20 minutes per night over as many nights as possible is requested. The SNR should be > 100. As mentioned above, DSLR should not be used because these objects are very red. Also, the very small amplitude of any variations makes them poor targets for visual observing. Be sure to take into account the high proper motion of these stars and apply the proper motion corrections given in the table; doing this is essential for accurate data reduction.

Charts with comparison stars for the targets may be created using the AAVSO Variable Star Plotter (VSP). Please note the chart scale recommendations in the table above.

Please submit observations to the AAVSO International Database using the names NSV 14420, GJ 1061, and YZ CET, respectively.

AAVSO Forums: This campaign is the topic of the AAVSO Campaigns and Observation Reports forum thread https://www.aavso.org/red-dots-2-campaign

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