AAS 206th Meeting, 29 May - 2 June 2005
Session 41 Variable Stars
Poster, Wednesday, 10:00am-7:00pm, Thursday, 9:20am-2:00pm, June 1, 2005, Ballroom A

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[41.05] The North Celestial Pole Monitoring Project

R. M. Blake, M. Castelaz, J. Phillips (Pisgah Astronomical Research Institute)

In the past ten years a renaissance has occurred in the study of transient phenomena using small, dedicated optical telescopes. This has largely been driven by the successful detection of planetary transits with small telescopes (Henry et al. 2000) and the successful recovery of optical afterglows of gamma ray bursts (e.g. Halpern et al. 1997). The telescopes involved are designed to slew at rapid rates accurately across the sky when a burst alert occurs, or to study a single patch of sky to detect transits. We have constructed a dedicated robotic instrument to monitor the region within 4 degrees of the north celestial pole continuously every clear night. Using a sequence of short and long exposures the telescope collects data to conduct searches for transient and variable objects and monitor the Cepheid variable Polaris. Previous authors (Kamper et al. 1984; Evans et al. 1998) have observed Polaris to nearly cease its pulsation, a unique behavior for a Cepheid variable. Monitoring Polaris with high secular coverage should help explain this behavior. We describe here the design of the observatory, its operation and control systems and give preliminary examples of the data products from this unique project.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.pari.edu/p07\_telescope\_display01.asp?scope=13. 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: mblake@pari.edu

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 37 #2
© 2005. The American Astronomical Soceity.