Plans for the Year 2022 & HOW-TO hour on Feb 5th 2022

American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)
Thu, 01/13/2022 - 21:39

Dear all!

I hope everyone here had a smooth transition to 2022! Let's hope this will be be a healthy and exciting year for the HEN observers.

Sorry for being silent for so long (a combination of professional obligations and really bad weather slowed down my astronomy activities to a standstill), but Dave and I as the HEN section leads have worked a bit behind the scenes to plan for some new stuff.

This year we want to focus on enabling as many observers as possible to take part in multi-messenger astronomy, in the sense of observing optical counterparts to exciting high-energy transient events. These include:

  • Gamma Ray Bursts (GRB) and their optical afterglows
  • Mergers of Binary Neutron Stars and their optical counterpart, the Kilonova
  • The next Galactic core-collapse Supernova

So the goal is to produce, in the coming weeks and months, some written HOW-TOs/Guides/Tutorials that cover these activities. Needless to say, we want to do this as a community activity. Theses training materials should be the product of a joint effort by observers who have experience in the field. For example, the GRB part will draw heavily from the know-how of observers Filipp Romanov and Arto Oksanen who are doing incrdible work in this field.

For starters, there will be a How-To Hour on Feb 5th with the working title "How To ... observe optical counterparts of High Energy Transients" where in a 30 minute talk (followed by a 30 minute Q&A) I'll try to give an intro into the subject outlined above.

There are quite a few recent new developments when it comes to observing the said events, e.g. later this year the Garvitational Wave detectors of the LIGO/VIRGO/KAGRA collaboration will start their new observing run (so we have a few more months to prepare for catching the next kilonova). Also SNEWS (SuperNova Early Warning System) are currently renovating their web-page and there are some exciting plans from SNEWS for practicing observation of the next galactic supernova ==> more details during the Feb 5th How-To hour.


Clear Skies

Heinz-Bernd Eggenstein