[AZ-Observing] IYA 2009

  • From: Jeff Hopkins <phxjeff@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: az-observing@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2009 16:20:37 -0700

As many of you know, the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) 2009 
began the 1st of January. The American Association of Variable Star 
Observers  (AAVSO) has made the coming eclipse (in July) of the 
mysterious star system epsilon Aurigae a cornerstone event. While the 
AAVSO will be handling mainly visual observation, there is a Campaign 
already set up to handle photometric, spectroscopic, polarimetry and 
Interferometry data.

Bob Stencel (University of Denver) and I started an Epsilon Aurigae 
Campaign a few years ago. To date we have published 9 Campaign 
Newsletters. The 10th is about ready. These Newsletters are free and 
can be downloaded from the Campaign web site as .pdf files.

In addition to the Newsletters there is much reference material on 
the web site. http://www.hposoft.com/Campaign09.html

Anyone interest in astronomy and this most interesting star system is 
encouraged to investigate further.


The below is from Aaron price of the AAVSO.


Eps Aur and the 2009 International Year of Astronomy
Aaron Price AAVSO

In August, 2007 the United States IYA working group for citizen
science chose the Eps Aur project as its cornerstone IYA event. The
AAVSO is the main hosting organization for the project which also
involves the Adler Planetarium, the California Academy of Science and
Johns Hopkins University. A large, 3-year funding proposal has been
submitted to fund the project. Early response has been very favorable
and a decision is expected by the end of January.

If funded, the project will be very large in scope. The goal of the
project is to involve the public in every aspect of the scientific
process. It begins with data collection (with an emphasis on visual
observing, but photometric observing is also included) but also
includes components for analyzing data and eventually writing a
scientific paper that will be peer reviewed and (if accepted)
published in a special edition of the Journal of the AAVSO. Public
workshops will be planned for the summers of 2009 (Chicago) and 2010
(San Francisco) with the goal to teach participants about data
analysis and scientific writing. Travel grants will be available on a
competitive basis (similar to the AAVSO/NASA High Energy Astrophysics
workshops from 2000-2006). There will be significant education and
public outreach activity as well, including the creation of a short
planetarium show and interactive 3D visualizations. It will all be
coordinated through a new web site called "Home Base", being designed
by the AAVSO webmaster and one of the webmasters of the GalaxyZoo
site. The site will involve blogs by professional and amateur
astronomers, discussion forums, new java-based data analysis tools and

If the project is not funded, then the AAVSO will continue to run the
campaign as it would run other major campaigns. However, the focus
will be on amateur astronomers and data collection with less focus on
the general public and data analysis. Cross your fingers!

The United Nations has officially declared 2009 to be the
International Year of Astronomy. The United States IYA Program
Committee has created a Research Experiences for Students, Teachers
and Citizen Science working group. That group has chosen the Eps Aur
eclipse as the focus of their 2009 efforts. The AAVSO has submitted a
proposal to the National Science Foundation to create the largest
active research citizen science project in history. If funded, the
program will recruit members of the public to observe Eps Aur

Jeff Hopkins
Counting Photons
Hopkins Phoenix Observatory
7812 West Clayton Drive
Phoenix, Arizona 85033-2439 U.S.A.
(623) 247-1190 (Fax)
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