SCV Astronomy - Stardial

News: Oct 2006

Looks like the Stardial group has called it quits after collecting data since 1999. In a case of great timing, I finally have some solid results in the Scutum/Aquila region ...

I'm not saying these are all new discoveries, but a few are IRAS stars not mentioned as variables, as far as I can tell.

Stardial is a nightly sky survey which photographs a strip of the sky from 0 to 8 degrees South. With a limiting magnitude of about 12.5, you can find all kinds of objects in these images, like variable stars, asteroids and comets. Here are some of the things I'm doing with this data:

Project #1: Charts

While it's a great service, and the photo quality is fine, the charts they offer are useless. They're rotated wrong, have huge blobs for stars, and don't give a clue which parts of the charts line up with which images. One of my ongoing projects is to complete a set of charts that can be used with no fudging or guesswork -- a set of charts made by merging Stardial images and labeling them. It's in the works, but let's just call it the Photographic Atlas of the Stardial Sky.

Project #2: Asteroids/Comets

Looking for asteroids & comets. While most of the undiscovered asteroids are way too faint (mag 15 to 20) to show up in Stardial images, you never know. I wish there were more surveys looking at more of the sky. Seems like the big telescopes are all pointed at such tiny regions, most of the sky is unphotographed on a given night. I've spotted some bright asteroids. My gallery is just getting started.

Project #3: Variable stars

Identify as many variables as I can using Stardial photos. The archive is ideal for this. I can merge images a few days apart, or compare a stack of 1996 images against those from last night. It's surprising how many stars have changed over the years! And many don't appear to be listed in the variable star catalogs. Interesting! Of course, as they're identified, they will be added to my Stardial Atlas.
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