AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

Proposal #294

Proposer (37470) Thomas Maccarone (thomas.maccarone@ttu.edu) obscode: MTJA
Assigned To(3663) Dirk Terrell
Date SubmittedDec. 2, 2022

For the AAVSO diversity committee, we decided we wanted to develop some programs for kids to get involved in variable star astronomy, even if they are in urban areas with severe light pollution, or otherwise don't have access to a telescope. We plan to pilot this with myself working with a group of students at the Lubbock, Texas YWCA, and then work with YWCA nationally to grow the program if it is successful.

We wanted to pick a target where there would be a large number of variable stars, so that a group of students could each have their own stars to work with. In order to be able to do this with the BSM, this means looking at open clusters. The open cluster NGC 869 is particularly appealing for a variety of reasons: it's aesthetically appealing as the "Double Cluster", it's at high declination, so it can be observed from the North almost throughout the year, and it is already know to have about 40 variables (between itself and NGC 884) of a wide variety of types. Some of these have been classified as types that indicate that they should be periodic, but no periods are given, so in addition to the educational aspect of the project, there is a potential to do real science.

In order to ensure that there is no student boredom effect caused by waiting for data to get started, we'd like to get some data before the project gets going. An ideal data set would be 1-2 data points per night for whenever the object can fit into the schedule. We'd like multiple observations on some nights because this will help greatly with getting periods for the Beta Cepheid variables, and any eclipsing variables that might be present (a few have been found, but more probably exist, and this is something for which Gaia could struggle quite a bit to do).

My estimate is that this would take about 5 minutes of on-source time per epoch, plus overheads, since it would be good to have three filters, with 3 30-second exposures in each one. If we obtained 100 epochs, that would bring us up to about 9 hours of telescope time, but spread out over a long period of time. If this is a bit too much of an ask to start out, then I'd like there to be some dense coverage, followed by sparser coverage, so that a good range of timescales is well sampling using less data.

Target RA (H.HH) Dec (D.DD) Magnitude Telescope Observation Frequency Expiration Date Proprietary Term
NGC 869 2.316056 57.13389 6.0–13.0 BSM_NH2 1 June 3, 2023 No


(4726) Kenneth Menzies — Dec. 5, 2022, 7:54 p.m.

Committed to NH and NM. 3 times per night. BVI filters.

Check exposure and if center should be adjusted?

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