Constellation: Ophiuchus
Right Ascension: 17h 57m 48.49803s
Declination: +04° 41′ 36.2072″
Distance: 6 ly
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Barnard's Star is a low mass red dwarf star 6 light years away from Earth. It's biggest claim to fame is it displays the highest proper motion of any star. Proper motion is the apparent motion across the sky from our viewpoint here on Earth. This is mainly due to its relative closeness and speed and direction of travel in the galaxy. The image is a composite of images taken in July 2014 and merged with an image in July 2018. It's motion in the sky is apparent. Despite its closeness, being a low mass red dwarf star, its apparent magnitude in the sky is 9.5, requiring a telescope to see it. The star is an estimated 7-12 billion years old, and as a red dwarf it will live a very long lifetime. It will make its closest approach in the year 11,800 AD at 3.75 light years.

Telescope: Explore Scientific 127 Refractor
Camera: Atik 314l+
Constellation: Cancer
Right Ascension: 08 56 40.1
Declination: +19 50 57
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

T Cancri is a red giant variable that gets it's deep reddish color from carbon that is dredged up from its core that forms a fine soot layer that scatters away the blue and green light, much like a sunset does. T Cancri varies in brightness from a magnitude 7.6 down to 10.5 in the green light band over a period of around 482 days. It was around magnitude 8.6 when this image was taken.

Telescope: Explore Scientific 127 Refractor
Camera: Atik 314l+
Constellation: Canes Venatici
Right Ascension: 12h 45m 07.83s
Declination: +45° 26′ 24.92″
Distance: 1,000
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

Other names for La Superba are Y CVn, and HD 110914. La Superba is a late stage red giant star, with a mass of three times that of our Sun, but with its outer layers extending out to a radius of 2.2 Astronomical units (1 AU is the distance of the Earth to the Sun). So if La Superba was at the same location as our Sun, it's outer layers would extend out to Mars. Like many red giants, it is also a variable star changing in brightness by around 1 magnitude over a 160 day cycle.

It is also a carbon star, with large amounts of carbon molecules in its outer layers that absorb blue and violet light, giving the star a deep reddish color. Eventually it will shed its outer layers and create a planetary nebula, while the core becomes a white dwarf star that is no longer fusing atoms and slowly cools over trillions of years.

The background contains an large number of barely visible and very distant galaxy that are highlighted with plate-solving the image.


There is also an interesting video highlighting the differences in sizes among stars, and this one includes La Superba to give an interesting view of the scale of it.

Telescope: EDT 80mm Reftactor
Camera: ZWO 1600 MM
Constellation: Orion
Right Ascension: 05 06 03.44
Declination: +04 06 08.8
Apparent Magnitude: 8.9 - 14.7 V
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

As Orion sets in the western sky, I say goodbye to one of the long period variable stars I follow until Fall when it starts rising in the east.

V Ori is a Mira type variable star that varies between 8.9 - 14.7 in V band over a period of approximately 267 days. Mira type variables are cool red giant stars that vary in brightness by over 2.5 magnitudes over periods that range from 80 to over 1000 days. The stars are in their late stage of life, fusing helium at the core and a swelling outer layer that is only weakly bound to the star. The star will eventually stop fusing, and transition to a white dwarf with a planetary nebula surrounding it. The pulsation is thought to be caused by shock waves originating from the star and traveling out through the extended shell.

Color image of V Ori taken on March 21, 2017, when it was around magnitude 9.6 in V visual band.



Light curve of V Ori, looking like it is near its peak on April 1st.

Telescope: EDT 80mm Reftactor
Camera: Atik 314l+
Constellation: Sagittarius
Right Ascension: 18h10m28.29s
Declination: -27°29'59.0
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

On October 20th while doing sky patrol with his 180 mm lens, Koicho Itagaki from Japan discovered a "new" star in Sagittarius that wasn't there the previous time. The star, temporarily given the designation of TCP J18102829-2729590 until it's permanent name is assigned. The star then at 11th magnitude has since increased to 8th magnitude.

A classical nova is binary star system in which one of the members is a white dwarf. The white dwarf steals hydrogen from its companion star. The gas piles up on the white dwarf until it builds up enough density to ignite nuclear fusion. The layer ignites like a fusion bomb causing the star to brighten 50,000 to 100,000 times brighter with in hours. The star then slowly dims as it burns off the hydrogen fuel and the process of accretion of hydrogen gas begins again. The process can take anywhere from years to centuries.

Sagittarius is fertile hunting grounds for nova as it lies in the direction of the center of the Milky Way Galaxy.

The image was taken on the evening of October 27 with the ED80 refractor using R/G/B filters to create a color image. In addition a "V" band filter that only allows green light through was used to take a photometric observation of its brightness. Its brightness on that evening was computed at 8.234 magnitude.

Telescope: EDT 80mm Reftactor
Constellation: Andromeda
Right Ascension: 01 04 35.54
Declination: +41 17 57.8
Star InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar InactiveStar Inactive

RX And is a recurring dwarf nova star located in the constellation of Andromeda. Currently classified in the class of Z Camelopardalis variable stars, it consists of a white dwarf with an accretion disk siphoning matter from a secondary dwarf star. Once the accretion disk reaches a certain threshold, it becomes very bright until it can slowly cool back down. Usually this cycle takes from 10-13 days for RX And, but occasionally it gets stuck in a bright mode for periods for days to even years.

As part of an AAVSO optical monitoring campaign in support of Chandra X-Ray observations, I've been taking photometric measurements once a night. The star normally varies from as dim as 14.8 to as bright as 10.3 magnitudes. With a quick rise time in under 24 hours, sunscreen would be an essential item for anyone near this star system. My exposure times went from 480 seconds at its dimmest to 50 seconds near its brightest. All images were taken through a "V" filter which is a standard green band pass filter used for observations with the 80 mm refractor.

Telescope: EDT 80mm Reftactor
Camera: Atik 314l+