Alpha Com eclipse observing campaign

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Alpha Com eclipse observing campaign

文章 PTS » 週六 06 12月, 2014 11:22

AAVSO Alert Notice 506
December 5, 2014

Alpha Com eclipse observing campaign

Drs. Matthew W. Muterspaugh and Gregory W. Henry (Tennessee State
University) have requested AAVSO observers' assistance in
monitoring the possible Algol-like binary star alpha Com before,
during, and after the eclipse they have predicted for mid-to-late
January 2015.

The PIs will be using the Fairborn Observatory automated
photometric telescopes on Mt. Hopkins in Arizona to monitor the
event, but they are requesting additional observations not only
to supplement theirs but also specifically to have good coverage
in the event of bad weather at Mt. Hopkins.

Alf Com has a 26-year period and is 4.32V at maximum. The expected
amplitude of the eclipse is about 0.8 magnitude and the duration
somewhere between 28 and 45 hours. The eclipse is predicted for
January 25 +/- three days (JD 2457047 +/- 3). In addition to the
26-year binary period, alf Com itself is slightly variable,
ranging over a few mmag from night to night and from year to year
with no apparent periodicity.

Muterspaugh at al. first calculated the possibility of a 2015
eclipse in 2010 (Astronomical Journal reference ... etcookie=1).
Muterspaugh and Henry recently published an article with updated
information (

V and/or R photometry (other bands welcome) is requested, starting
now. As far in advance of the window as your schedule permits and
until the eclipse begins, please obtain a minimum of one
measurement/2 hours, to make sure the eclipse is caught right as
it begins. (This also will ensure having multiple data points on
any unseen objects that might eclipse as well.) During eclipse,
continuous observations are important. If you have infrared access
(H-band), observations could be interesting, should the CHARA array
image the event.

The precision photometry in the weeks before and after the eclipse
is requested in order to catch possible evidence for planets or
other materials around the eclipsing star.

Regarding refining the predicted time of eclipse, Muterspaugh and
Henry write, "Updated astrometry from the current epoch would
greatly improve the eclipse preductions. For example, a single
measurement with mas astrometric precision from early December 2014,
when the projected separation is 36 milli-arcseconds, would improve
the timing prediction by a factor of 3."

Coordinates: RA 13 09 59.28 Dec. +17 31 46.0 (2000)

Charts with comparison star sequence for alf Com may be created
using the AAVSO Variable Star Plotter (

The PIs recommend using the comparison stars:

HD 113848 (39 Com, HR 4946, HIP 63948, V=5.990, B-V=0.39, F4V)
HD 114520 (HIP 64312, V=6.820, B-V=0.46,F2II)

They comment that "Both comparison stars are constant to one
millimag (0.001 mag) or so on night-to-night and year-to-year
timescales; the standard deviation between comparison stars for
the complete 22 year dataset with over 2000 observations is only
0.0018 mag."

On the AAVSO A-scale chart for alf Com, HD 113848 is labeled
comp 60, and HD 114520 is comp 68. In the photometry table for
this star, HD 113848 is 000-BBT-464 and HD 114520 AUID 000-BLL-255.

Please submit observations to the AAVSO International Database
using the name ALF COM. Muterspaugh notes that January 23 is the
birthday of his sister, Jessica, and if the eclipse occurs on the
23rd, he would like to call it "Jessica's eclipse". If the eclipse
does occur on January 23, a note could be added to the WebObs
Comments field to this effect.

Thank you very much for your contributions to this campaign.

This AAVSO Alert Notice was compiled by Elizabeth O. Waagen.


Information on submitting observations to the AAVSO may be found at:


An Alert Notice archive is available at the following URL:

Subscribing and Unsubscribing may be done at the following URL: ... ertnotices


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