dimanche 14 avril 2019

Gemini II

Since february 27th, my mount was down due to technical trouble with the motors and the Gemini system. I decided to upgrade it with Gemini II and more porerfull Maxon motors. I just installed it today and used the same parameters as before (ie: same pointing model). It seems to work nicely!

I think I lost about 15 nights due to this issue. I hope the semi-automated script still work on this new system but I believe it should...

mercredi 27 février 2019

Big fireball of february 27th

On february 27th morning, around 4h24 UT (5h24 local time), my all sky camera captured a bright fireball which was also detected by 15 other FRIPON stations.

dimanche 17 février 2019

From Winter to Summer in one week !

Incredible... with 50cm of snow end of january and snow still falling on february 11th, we went to hot 23°C days on february 17th and beautiful spring/summer sunny weather!

from january 28th...

...to february 16th !

And we now have a long serie of clear skies (unfortunatly the Moon is also very bright)...

BeSS stats in 2018

2018 has been a all-time record with more than 2600 high resolution -R>5000) Halpha spectra submitted into the Be Star Spectra database in one year alone. The great thing is that those come from lot of different sources (ie observers), this is great:

Cumulated, it is more than 18000 high resolution Halpha spectra submitted by amateur into BeSS database:

The only drawback is that half of those spectra have been taken from France, a broader geographical coverage would be better!

Anyway, the observing power has helped covering more and more Be stars and some have a very close monitoring. In 2018, three targets have been monitored closely, unfortunatly with no outburst: phi And, 28 Cyg and omi And.

We can mention the excellent coverage of V442 And  with 238 high resolution Halpha spectra taken in 2018 and the followup of the spring outburst of this star. In 2017 there were 57 Halpha spectra acquired. Those two years are the baseline for hopefully a great study of this system. And lot of those spectra are actually echelle ones and covering important lines such as He I, Hbeta, Hgamma...

Of course, there are more than 1100 spectra of gamma Cas in BeSS recorded through the years (cumulated), more than what is really necessary. But hey, why not? :-)

On a side note, I am happy to report that I have now submitted more orders in BeSS than ELODIE archive - cool...

 Anyway, Be Star Spectropscopy rocks - it is always fun to see subtil or drastic changes in matter of months or days. There are still lot of unknown with those stars, hopefully our 18000+ spectra will help unravel some of those mysteries...

samedi 5 janvier 2019

Review of the year 2018

2018 has been the first complete year with the observatory fully functional. It is a good time to review what happend then.

Mid 2017 the observatory was bck to functional with the Losmandy Titan mount refurbished. I have then been able to observe manually through 2017 with very good success.

In september 2017, I invested in some equipment to do remote. This was a key milestone for more productive (and with warmer environment!) observations.

2018 started with a very very bad weather conditions. I was able to observe seriously in june. But a major turn occured in july as I developped a script for more automated observation including software control jump from one target to the next and of course all acquisition and autoguiding. At the beginning I gave th script a list of target to do. In september, I added the ability to select the next target based on its distance to current telescope position in the sky, the BeSS Be Star Spectra database current priority and my own priority (some bonus for some targets).

During 2018, I have observed 123 nights (partial or total), with more than 615 hours of total exposure time. My project (and only one - almost mono-maniac!) is the spectrscopy of Be stars. I thus acquired 536 spectra of Be stars (more than 12000 orders), reaching a total of 1361 spectra in BeSS and close to 30000 orders.

I reached #1 in number of orders in BeSS and top 3 for the number of spectra of Halpha in BeSS:

Based on all those observations, here is the updated graphs showing the observatory performance on Be stars in terms of SNR (Signal to Noise Ratio) versus Visual Magnitude.

Some sheeps around the observatory this last Fall:

dimanche 21 octobre 2018

Gemini CR2032 battery change & Gemini.Net configuration

I changed the battery CR2032 inside the Gemini 1 controler. I noticed it was easy to bent one pin and connect both pins on the 3V side. So be very carefull when putting the battery so that 0V and 3V are well connected:

WRONG: the top pin is below the battery

Make sure the pin is up

OK: one pin is below and one is on the side of the battery

Details of the Gemini.Net configuration including Gemini Modeling Parameters

ATTENTION: in Prism, connect Gemini.Net through Ascom generic HUB.

Last but not least, I have added a dew heater around the C11 front glass to avoid dew which is now coming after midnight; it is visible in the image below as the bright band around the telescope.

samedi 15 septembre 2018

Top 3 BeSS observer

I have been running my automatic script for some time.now. This helped me to reach 3rd position in the BeSS Halpha observer list and acquiring up to 25000 spectra/orders!

Tonight - september 15th 2018 - I am testing a new approach for my script: each target is automatically selected from a subset of BeSS stars, using BeSS/ARASBeAm priority (ie: date of last observation versus ideal observing period), my own priority (my top 10 targets) and distance to telescope.