EPSILON AUR 2009–2011
Epsilon Aur is a naked eye star that is close to being circumpolar form Wisconsin. Normally near magnitude 3.0, every 27 years, an unknown object eclipses this star dropping the magnitude to 3.8. The current eclipse will start in Aug 2009 and continue until May 2011.
The observing technique is simple. Locate the triangle, known as the kids, located south of the bright star Capella. In a very light polluted area, a pair of binoculars may be needed. Otherwise the group will be visible to the unaided eye. Compare its brightness with the stars whose magnitudes are printed on the chart below. Try to find two comparisons, one brighter and one fainter, and use them to interpolate the magnitude of Epsilon Aur. For example, if it appears halfway between the 3.2 and the 3.8 mag stars it is at 3.5. The magnitudes on the chart appear with the decimal point omitted. Also record the date and time of each estimate.
A project known as Citizen Sky is underway to promote observations of the current eclipse and use it to promote astronomy education. More information can be found at the project Citizen Sky website. This project is part of the 2009 International Year of Astronomy but will continue thru 2011.
Members are encouraged to report their estimates to the citizen sky website. Please also send a copy to Gerry Samolyk so they can be included in the plot on this website.