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TagsAnd Aries ASAS binoculars BRT BSM Cas comets Dra Draconis EC Pickering Eric Stempels Friedrich Wilhelm Argelander Hans Bengtsson Henry Parkhurst Johan Kärnfelt Johan Warell Joseph Baxendell lightcurves Miras novae Otero R Ari RCB R Dra remote telescopes Robert Wahlström Robin Andersson SAAF Sebastian Otero semiregulars SRD sun sunspots SU Tau SVO T.H. Astbury Thomas Karlsson Tomas Wikander V370 And V538 Cas V2331 Cyg variable stars variable star section W Aur
I am a happy member of the AAVSO. The organization organizes amateurs and professionals on a global scale who are interested in variable stars; furthermore, the AAVSO has built up and maintained crucial parts of the infrastructure of variable star astronomy: the VSP, the VSX, the JAAVSO. I gladly pay the membership dues.
But the Twitter account of the AAVSO is way off. Some recent headlines: “A galaxy without dark matter??!!”, “Astronomers have made the first definitive detection of a radioactive molecule in interstellar space… #aavso #coolscience”, “A young star devouring its planet??!!!” et cetera et cetera.
Frankly, in my opinion, this is not what AAVSO’s about; I can get my daily fix of this gosh-wow popular science elsewhere, and it doesn’t guide me when developing my observing programmes and it doesn’t provide me with a high-density feed of information on what is going in variable star astronomy.
R CrB has been on a plateau during some time, hovering 1.5-2 magnitudes below the normal maximum magnitude. But recently an upward trend has been visible; last night I observed it at 7.2.
The current minimum must be one of the longest in recorded history.
The Swedish Allsky Meteor Network tracked a bolide on November 28, 2016 that could possibly have produced a fall. Calculations by Eric Stempels, coordinator of the network, gave coordinates on the ground, should the bright meteor have produced meteorites.
On the initiative of Johan Warell, leader of the Solar System Section of SAAF, a meteorite search was organised during the spring. We didn’t find a meteorite, but still it was good fun trying!
Last weekend SAAF, the Swedish Association of Amateur Astronomers, met in Beddingestrand, for a couple of days of talks, observing &c. Great meeting old and new friends!
50 neglected miras is the theme for a programme run by SAAF/V, the variable star section of SAAF since February 2012. We have, at the time of writing, amassed 8826 observations, observations have been analysed and new knowledge has emerged from these observations. A number of objects in the programme has been updated in the VSX, and we are working on a paper manuscript on the observations. It has been a very rewarding experience to work in this programme, acquiring knowledge and an understanding of these objects that in many cases were discovered to be variable stars in photographic surveys 50-75 years ago but then more or less neglected, besides making several discoveries “on the side” about objects in the vicinty of the miras.
After that, we’ve began another programme on yet another group of neglected miras, this time 25 of them. It will be interesting to see these objects come into light as we observe them.
I just observed the Sun: no sunspots, just like the other day. The current sunspot cycle has been quite low.
Since a number of years, I am reporting my sunspot observations to the international data centre in Brussels; monitoring such dynamic celestial phenomena is very meaningful, I think.
The current R Dra maximum was, as noted earlier, comparatively bright. My brightest observation was at 6.2 on December 13. Here are the latest six maxima as reported by Swedish observers:
R Draconis is heading for a comparatively bright maximum. I observed it at 6.4 this evening. Yet another example of the personality of miras that makes them, even the brighter ones, such interesting phenomena to follow.