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Thread: Stellar parallax live along with New Horizons

  1. #1
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    Stellar parallax live along with New Horizons

    The New Horizons project just announced that they are doing imaging observations of Proxima Centauri and Wolf 359 in April, timed to allow wavefront-simultaneous observations from much of the Earth. They are soliciting observers, seeing how many people are well equipped for CCD imaging these days. The simultaneous parallax baselines are 38-42 astronomical units; Proxima should shift by about 30 arcseconds between the two vantage points, Wolf 359 by about 16". As I understand it, this is largely a demonstration that will yield images well see in textbooks (textfiles?) for decades; it also gives them the chance to do a first low-precision case of onboard interstellar navigation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ngc3314 View Post
    The New Horizons project just announced that they are doing imaging observations of Proxima Centauri and Wolf 359 in April, timed to allow wavefront-simultaneous observations from much of the Earth. They are soliciting observers, seeing how many people are well equipped for CCD imaging these days. The simultaneous parallax baselines are 38-42 astronomical units; Proxima should shift by about 30 arcseconds between the two vantage points, Wolf 359 by about 16". As I understand it, this is largely a demonstration that will yield images well see in textbooks (textfiles?) for decades; it also gives them the chance to do a first low-precision case of onboard interstellar navigation.
    Horizons will be a problem, at least for those in the US imaging aCen; it's below the horizon (sorry). No doubt, it will be fun for those imaging from south of us. Wolf359 is plenty high enough and with a meridian time of around 10pm, I think. [My Stellarium doesn't show it, oddly, though it's an old version.]

    Looks like they are fine with using simple amateur gear, but I hope you snag it from your obs. I suppose the Horizon image won't have near enough resolution to match anything better than a nice shot from a 6 inch. Allow me to predict the image for aCen will be a bit yellow. [Care to bet? ]

    "Once New Horizons sends its images to Earth, the mission team will provide them for comparison to images obtained with amateur telescopes. Wolf 359 and Proxima Centauri will appear to shift in position between the Earth-based and space-based images.

    In addition, working with New Horizons participating scientist and Queen guitarist Brian May – an astrophysicist himself – the New Horizons team will create and release 3D images showing these two stars."

    So astrophysicist is 2nd to guitarist? Nice to see him involved.
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by George View Post
    Horizons will be a problem, at least for those in the US imaging aCen; it's below the horizon (sorry). No doubt, it will be fun for those imaging from south of us. Wolf359 is plenty high enough and with a meridian time of around 10pm, I think. [My Stellarium doesn't show it, oddly, though it's an old version.]
    <John Rhys-Davies voice> They're looking in the wrong place! </voice> It moves fast enough that someone looking over my shoulder at a 3-year time-lapse asked which KBO that was.


    Looks like they are fine with using simple amateur gear, but I hope you snag it from your obs.
    I did provide the images of Proxima and Wolf 359 they put in the press release, and scheduled myself for all three SARA telescopes that night plus an extra for weather backup. Alpha Cen is just too bright to get background stars at the same time (which is why the Cassini image of its components just clearing the rings doesn't show any parallax effect), while the red dwarfs are fine that way (although Wolf 359 is [it]red[/it] so not saturating it while getting background stars can take some stacking at longer wavelengths). I'm told they are doing a couple of sequences for Wolf 359 to guard against a flare that might saturate the detector (which it does occasionally pop out with).

    Hmm - lemme see whether that animated GIF showing R-band images from November 2016-February 2019 still animates if I attach it.
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Quote Originally Posted by ngc3314 View Post
    <John Rhys-Davies voice> They're looking in the wrong place! </voice> It moves fast enough that someone looking over my shoulder at a 3-year time-lapse asked which KBO that was.
    So you recommend using the camera's Sport setting for fast action?

    Nice time lapse, btw.

    Would simple red filters yield better results for aCen?
    We know time flies, we just can't see its wings.

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