Archive for September, 2013

The passing of Albert Jones: visual variable star observer

September 16, 2013

One of the world’s most prolific variable star observers, New Zealander Albert Jones, has died at the age of 93. Albert was an avid visual variable star observer for almost 70 years. He has been unable to contribute observations since late 2011 due to failing health.

Read this AAVSO thread from AAVSO Director Arne Henden and a related forum topic in which Albert is being remembered.

Albert leaves a legacy of around half a million visual observations of more than 1000 variable stars of various types. We owe it to him to continue his work in the south.

Addition: See also this Sky & Telescope News article about Albert.

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NOW: Nova Observation Withdrawl

September 11, 2013

It’s been 5 nights since I’ve been able to observe V0339 Delphini (was Nova Delphini 2013) due to cloudy conditions. Sigh.

Tonight looked promising before dinner and before I put the kids to bed. Cloud cover had rolled in by the time I got back outside though.

I haven’t looked at the light curve for a couple of days. I’d say it’s down to 7.5 or pushing towards 8.0.

He goes away and looks…

NovaDel2013Sep11

Yes, around 7.5. The weather forecast for Adelaide doesn’t look much better for the next few days so I may have to be a spectator for awhile.

Edit: I just managed to glimpse the field through binoculars but there was too much cloud to see the nova.

Nova Del 2013 designation change and update

September 9, 2013

Nova Delphini 2013 now has a more “normal” variable star catalog designation: V0339 Delphini.

Since my last post, the nova has dropped from 6.8 to 7.2 and the light curve continues to show a decline, although less steep the last few days.

NovaDel2013Sep9.tsv

I’ve been clouded out the last 2 nights but my observation from 3 nights ago is in the cross hairs and my humble 10 observations so far are shown in purple.

We really do have a great opportunity in the southern hemisphere to make observations of events that would otherwise be missed. Obviously I’m not the only person down here who is observing this object but for a few hours in some cases, the record shows that the observations are a bit thin.

NovaDel2013Sep9Zoomed

That stray magnitude 6.4 observation to the right of the cross hairs appears to be discrepant. There’s a fair amount of spread in the visual estimates but there’s also some disagreement from the photometric (Johnson V) observers.