View Full Version : Amateur Observers Are Seeing Double

2005-Oct-28, 06:59 PM
SUMMARY: As Derek Breit headed for Fremont, California on April 15 to observe a lunar grazing event, little did he know that he was about to make a discovery that would change the way we look at standard stars. As he set up his 12" Meade SCT and prepared to record the event with a low lux videocamera, it seemed like a fairly routine observation. Until he reviewed his tapes. As frame by frame moved by, he noticed something a little unusual about upsilon Geminorum - a standard star against which others are measured, especially in the infrared. In 55 frames of his video footage, he apparently captured what may be the very first look at a 11th magnitude companion on a slightly variable star not known to be a double.

View full article (http://www.universetoday.com/am/publish/amateur_observers_double.html)
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2005-Oct-28, 08:04 PM
Hi guys,
Can someone explain the gist of this to me in a language I can understand???
Thanks... :-P

2005-Oct-28, 09:48 PM
An amateur astronomer discovered that a star thought to be a variable star is in fact a double star.

How's that?

2005-Oct-29, 01:50 PM

About 60% of the stars seen in the heavens are at least double.The distance between the single components of such a double is very often so close that you need a very large telescope that allows high magnification to see the two as separate stars. In many cases, the brightness of one star of a double exceeds the brightness of his companion star so much that the fainter star is overshone by the glare of the brighter one. In such a case it is difficult or even impossible to detect that it is a pair of stars.
In many cases the stars are so close to one another that it is quite impossible to see them as a double in any telescope. In such a case the fact that a star is a pair of stars can usually be derived from the analysis of the spectrum of the star, as if it is a pair, the star spectrum of the pair will combine the pecularities of different star spectra and their relative movements in one spectrum.

But if the distance between the two partners is very narrow and at the same time the brightness of these two partners is very different one from the other, the contribution of the lesser partner to the star spectrum of the double star may be too small to be detected at all.

In such a case, an occultation of this star by the moon may help to detect the "double" character of a star, as at the very moment of its occultation by the moon, the two partner stars may vanish from sight one after the other within a fraction of a second, or reappear one after the other within a fraction of a second when the occultation ends.

Y Geminorum is a pulsating red giant variable star. One of Thousands of that type. To be able to detect the duplicity of this star, you needed to be at the right time on the right place with the right equipment and use it properly. Derek was the one to meet these reqirements.

That is great!