AAS 196th Meeting, June 2000
Session 10. Professional-Amateur Observational Programs
Display, Monday, June 5, 2000, 9:20am-6:30pm, Empire Hall South

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[10.01] Monitoring All Sky for Variability

B. Paczynski (Princeton U.), G. Pojmanski (Warsaw U.)

A few percent of all stars are variable, yet more than 90 percent of variables brighter than 12 magnitude have not been discovered yet. There is a need for an all sky search and for the early detection of any unexpected events: optical flashes from gamma-ray bursts, novae, dwarf novae, supernovae, killer asteroids, comets, etc. The ongoing projects like ROTSE, ASAS, TASS, and others, using instruments with just 4 inch aperture, have already discovered thousands of new variable stars, a flash from an explosion at a cosmological distance, and the first partial eclipse of a nearby star by its Jupiter like planet. About one million variable stars may be discovered with such small instruments, and many more with larger telescopes. The critical elements are software and full automation of the hardware.

A complete census of the brightest eclipsing binaries is needed to select objects for a robust empirical calibration of the accurate distance determination to the Magellanic Clouds, the first step towards the Hubble constant.

An archive to be generated by a large number of small instruments will be very valuable for data mining projects. The real time alerts will provide great targets of opportunity for the follow-up observations with the largest telescopes.

The ASAS project is supported by a generous gift from Mr. William Golden, and we are grateful for his support and interest.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.astro.princeton.edu/faculty/bp.html. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: bp@astro.princeton.edu

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