December 18, 2017

19.02.11: V1647 Orionis-A Request for Observations.

This past Tuesday, a call for observations went out from the American Association for Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) for observations past and present of a very poorly understood variable. In AAVSO Special Notice #235 Dr. Colin Aspin of the University of Hawaii has requested images past and present of the area surrounding M78 and the object known as McNeil’s Nebula.

This object made headlines back in 2003 as an area of increased luminosity discovered by an amateur astronomer. Dr. Aspin is looking to create a light curve of the nebula in hopes of better understanding the outburst being observed there. Less than 50 certified observations of the star V1647 exist in the AAVSO database. Visual observations of the area are encouraged, but photometric calibrated images will yield the most data. YOU may have the crucial image of the region, filed away on a hard drive or sitting in stacks of ye’ ole gas hypered film… the coordinates for V1647 are:

R.A. 05H 46’ 13.14”

Declination: -00° 06’ 04.8”

As the waning Moon slides out of the sky this weekend, now is the time to get out and observe and image the deep sky wonders of Orion and M78. Good luck, and be sure to take this opportunity to contribute to real science in the making… I wonder what other nebulae are out there, waiting to be discovered?

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