Epsilon Aurigae


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Epsilon Aurigae

(ô-rÿ -jee, -ree -) An eclipsing binary star about 600 parsecs distant in the constellation Auriga, with a period of 9892 days, the eclipse lasting about 610 days. It consists of an extremely luminous F2 Ia supergiant about 15 times the mass of the Sun with a very large companion of about the same mass. Once thought to be a very distended cool supergiant, the large occulting object is now believed to be a ring or shell of gases surrounding the true companion, a main-sequence B star. The gases arise from rapid mass transfer from the F star (see W Serpentis star).
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Ever since the star's periodic eclipses were first recorded in 1821, astronomers have been puzzling over how Epsilon Aurigae pulls off its lengthy disappearing act.
Even with the concerted effort of the early 1980's the behavior of epsilon Aurigae remains mysterious.
Hopkins did more than 1,000 measurements of the brightness of Epsilon Aurigae himself and coordinated more than 2,000 by 29 observers from nine countries.
Auriga is high in the sky in December, and whilst viewing Epsilon Aurigae it will be worth checking out some of the other sights of the constellation.
Using the International Ultraviolet Explorer satellite in 1979, Margherita Hack (University of Trieste, Italy) found a clue when she took the first ultraviolet spectrum of Epsilon Aurigae.
Despite the impressive quality and quantity of data from the recent campaign, Epsilon Aurigae is still not ready to give up all of its secrets.
In the case of Epsilon Aurigae, interferometric imaging actually allows us to see the object's silhouette.
August 6 sees the predicted start of the eclipse of Epsilon Aurigae (see also p.
In addition to Epsilon Aurigae, I observe a collection of standard stars to verify calibration.
In addition, the visual data extend the AAVSO's Epsilon Aurigae archive to more than 21,480 observations (of all types), covering eclipses back to 1842.
The long awaited eclipse of the "Mystery Star," Epsilon Aurigae (S&T: May 2009, page 58), has sparked a resurgence of interest in observing variable stars among professional and amateur astronomers.