October 21, 2018

08.04.10-Epsilon Aurigae Update.

   We couldn’t resist shooting this one out there today, as it contains some fairly mind-blowing imagery. Late last year, we put a shout-out to observe the eclipsing binary star Epsilon Aurigae, a bright naked eye star that undergoes periodic diming once every 27 years. For over 190 years, this star has stubbornly not only refused to match stellar evolutionary models, but sometimes threatened to overthrow them, to boot. Now, scientists have solved the case of the disappearing star, and it’s a strange one, indeed. The variation in brightness appears to be the result of three factors; a bright type F supergiant, orbited by a hot type B star about 1,000 times dimmer shrouded in a massive dust disk. The entire system passes along our line of sight and obscures the host for an 18 month period. The grouping is about 2,000 light years distant. In fact, if Epsilon Aurigae were tipped away even 10 degrees more from our line of sight, we wouldn’t see anything unusual at all! This model of the systems’ total luminous output matches the observed brightness curve from the recent dimming. (see above) [Read more...]

AstroEvent of the Week: January 19th-25th, 2009: Will EE Cephei Fade?

Variable star observing stands as a key area that amateur astronomers can still make a significant contribution. Either via imaging or visual observation, its fun to know that you are doing some of the grunt work of science and not just taking pretty pictures. This week’s event will require a telescope of at least 4″ aperture; it’s a rare dimming of the eclipsing variable EE Cephei.

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