January 7 Update

As you’ve probably noticed, things haven’t been very busy in the realm of astronomy around here lately. Over the past month, I did manage to make 1 minor planet and 3 DSO observations. I’ve added them as follows:
M50
M29
Asteroid 3 Juno
NGC 869 and NGC 884 (The Double Cluster in Perseus)
We got some partly cloudy observing in at the Lowell Observatory Rotunda patio tonight. A 14″ SCT was aimed at Mars, and I caught a glimpse of a well-defined North Polar Cap. My first sight of that feature so far–it’s been angled away or covered by the Polar Hood otherwise. We also got a tour/demo from one of the astronomers who was remote-observing using a 31″ scope at Anderson Mesa from his comfy, warm desk on Mars Hill. He was surveying a globular cluster and measuring stellar rotations periods vs. age. I asked how they were determining rotation period, and they are able to measure regular dimming of individual stars caused by spots crossing the surface as the star rotates. This generates a luminosity profile over time that varies in the neighborhood of 1% due to these spots and they are able to determine rotation rates from this.
An editor from Astronomy magazine contacted me a couple weeks ago at the suggestion of Brian Skiff regarding a Q & A article they were publishing on their website about “Today’s Sky Searches”. They wanted to use one of the photos I took with Brian at the LONEOS observatory. If you have a subscription to the magazine, you can enter the subscription code and get access to the online content. It’s an informative article, and does a great job detailing the process that I made a fractured attempt to describe a couple months ago.

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