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Andy Wilson

I've been interested in astronomy for most of my life. I enjoy visually observing a whole range of targets from the Moon and Planets to Deep Sky objects. Though my passion lies in understanding stars using spectroscopy and the monitoring of variable stars. I am also a bit of an eclipse chaser when circumstances allow, having been lucky enough to see 4 total solar eclipses.

I perform a couple of voluntary roles in the BAA. First as the Database Secretary for the Variable Star Section, and second as the Database Manager for the BAA Spectroscopy Database.

Having studied Astronomy, Physics and Mathematics with a couple of undergraduate degrees, I am now in the very fortunate position to be studying for an Astronomy PhD at the University of Exeter. My research involves using large professional observatories to obtain spectra of Young Stellar Objects in order to determine their level of starspot coverage.

2016 Nov 3

2016 Oct 20

20:48 UTC

At last out observing again for the first time in nearly 3 weeks. Below is a spectrum of the H-alpha absorption line of Vega. I use this along with a professional reference spectrum of Vega to work out the instrument response. This allows me to then to correct the other spectra I'll be obtaining tonight to remove the effect of my equipment and the Earth's atmosphere.

2016 Sep 21

19:33 UTC

chi Cyg spectra near to H-alpha. As chi Cyg is on the rise the H-alpha emission is starting up again. This emission line is associated with a hypersonic shock wave that passes through the star once per cycle.

2016 Aug 15

00:07 UTC

Here is an image through my spectrograph guide camera with V Sge positioned on the spectrograph slit.

00:03 UTC

Doing a mix of spectroscopy and watching the Olympic tennis final tonight. I already have spectra of the Mira variable chi Cyg and the symbiotic star CH Cyg. Both of these are around 7th-8th mag, so not too much of a challenge.

However, now I've moved onto the unusual binary V Sge. At a little below 11th mag this is a real challenge for more setup. I'm doing a 2 hour run, but even then I expect a very noisy spectrum.

2016 Aug 9

20:04 UTC

Below is a spectrum of chi Cyg from 8th August compared with a similar spectrum from 2nd June. chi Cyg brightened from just below 10th mag to nearly 7th mag over this time period and is shrinking as it brightens. I am looking for the appearance of the H alpha emission line. This should be appear near maximum light and is related to a hypersonic shock wave that passes through the photosphere.

The peaks and troughs in the spectrum are due to absorption in the relatively cool photosphere of chi Cyg. Many are due to molecules like titanium oxide.

19:58 UTC

I had my first observing session in a couple of months last night, now it is starting to get dark at a remotely sensible hour. I was pleased to obtain a spectrum of chi Cyg, as well as spotting a bright meteor flashing over the observatory. It looked like my first Perseid of the season.

2016 Jul 21

03:49 UTC

Trying out the update profile button.. Dominic has used his admin rights to edit this several times... And even James has managed to edit it too... :)

2016 Jul 20

03:50 UTC

Trying out adding a new post.

03:38 UTC

My main interests are spectroscopy and variable stars, though I enjoy many aspects of astronomy including observing deep sky objects and travelling to see total solar eclipses.

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