My Top Astronomical Experience of 2011 - Epsilon Aurigae

During the first part of 2011 I was traveling in Central America with my family. I had almost no equipment with me and I was unable to import very much into Guatemala without a lot of red tape. I did manage to get an Astrotrac tracking mount for my birthday however and I stumbled upon the Citizen Sky project to observe the eclipse of Epsilon Aurigae.

Since it was the dry season it was more or less clear every night and for a total of five times in April and early May I was able to use my DSLR to take photos of the constellation and using MaxIm DL I was then able to make the accurate brightness measurements needed to submit observations to the AAVSO. I was doing some “real” astronomy from Guatemala.

When I took a look at the light curve results I was really impressed by how well my data agreed with that of other observers. Except for one outlier 4/5 of my observations were spot-on and I was able to observe the star coming out of eclipse in real time over the time as I was in Guatemala.

A very cool experience – as was my observing of anti-crepuscular rays which was featured in the October issue of the Journal.