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(596) Scheila - The Shot I Wanted!

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markt
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« on: January 12, 2011, 06:05:40 pm »

Thanks Dennis and Martin for your kind words!

The GCSE astronomy group have taken on a real fascination with asteroids of late after seeing these animations - it's the fact you can see how much they move over a certain period of time, they always want to know how big they are, how fast they are moving, how far away they are - the list goes on, and like you say Martin, always the questions arise - will it hit earth, could it hit earth... 

Regards X-ray binaries - we are observing an object called 4U0614+091 (glamorous name eh!), there's not a huge amount of information on it tbh - if you google it then you just get a load of abstracts from scientific papers.  However, as I understand it there are a pair of neutron stars which orbit each other every 51 minutes(!!!!!)and, at xray wavelengths show variability in terms of brightness, however the boffins suggest that this type of object also displays variability in optical wavelengths at short time scales, and the plan is to try and capture this. 

This is an international project and the plan is to observe the object continuouslly for 48 hours.  As well as FTN and FTS, the telescopes involved are the IAC80 (Spain), the Kryoneri Telescope (Greece), the McDonald and Apache Point Telescopes in the USA, the Kanata and Araki Telescopes (Japan) and the Hanle and Nainital Telescopes (India).

My plan is to use the data from the Faulkes telescopes and put together an animation as above showing the object over several hours, fingers crossed I can show some variability in brightness if it exists / is detected.  The SALSAJ software that I use for the FT images allows me to make a proper photometric measurement, so i'm hoping I can use this information to produce a light curve that hopefully demonstrates said variability...  All ambitious stuff, however I consider myself and students very lucky to be able to play with such a large scope, and, as such, as far as i'm concerned it's important that the time we have on it is put to good scientific use.

As always, you guys here get first light on the results Wink

Mark.

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