Gordon Sarty's Astronomy Stuff

Surfing potential graduate students: Please go to my research page.


Stuff on this page:

General Astronomical Links (Databases, etc.)

Bibliographic/Atlas/Survey Information
  1. Digital Palomar Sky Survey
  2. CDAC interface to DSS
  3. The NASA Astrophysics Data System Astronomy literature search resource.
  5. Coordinate Precession Applet
  6. VizieR
  7. Aladin
  8. CDS tutorials
  9. NED
  10. NED overview
  11. NED Level 5
  12. NASA Astronomical Data Center (ADC)
  13. Amphibian Species of the World: An Online Reference
  14. ASAS database
  15. ASAS home page
  16. Western Canada asteriod occultation predictions
  17. CALEB Catalog and Atlas of Eclipsing Binaries
  18. Raguzova's Be/X-ray binaries and candidates
Magazines and Societies and stuff
  1. CASCA
  2. The Multicoloured Landscape of Compact Objects and their Explosive Origins: Theory vs. Observations June 11 - 24, 2006, Cefalu', Sicily (Italy).
  3. AstroCirta, Algeria Astronomy Workshop 2010.
  4. Astronomy Conferences
  5. Astronomical Society of the Pacific
  6. Astronomy Magazine
  7. Astronomy Now
  8. Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
  9. Canadian Meteorological Centre site that provides cloud forecasts for astronomers
  10. Canadian Space Agency
  11. Clipping service related to space news
  12. CODATA recommended constants
  13. David Dunlap Observatory
  14. Dominion Radio Astrophysical Observatory
  15. Eclipse photography and safety
  16. Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
  17. Hubble Heritage Site
  18. International Astronomical Union Central Bureau
  19. IAU minor planet center
  20. International Dark-Sky Association
  21. International Meteor Organization
  22. NASA JPL
  23. Kennedy Space Center
  24. Leonid info
  25. MIAC
  26. NASA eclipse bulletins
  27. NASA eclipse site
  28. Space Shuttle and ISS information
  29. North American Meteor Network
  30. Mont Megantic Observatory
  31. Planetary Society
  32. Starlab
  33. Royal Astronomical Society of New Zealand occultations section
  34. Saguaro Astronomy Club with observing list database
  35. Satellite tracking information (Heavens Above)
  36. Sky and Telescope
  37. SkyNews
  38. Space Telescope Science Institute
  39. SEDS
  40. AAS
  41. Extrasolar planets
  42. Terrestrial Planet Finder
  43. AstroWeb
  44. Info on Philips ToUcam Pro for imaging the planets through a telescope. Modifying a web cam. Example Mars images. Some software.
  45. UAI minor planets.
  46. Filip and Chantal Feys Obsevatory and Art (Crete)
  47. CITA seminars (videos)
  48. U of S Aurora Cam
  49. Swimmers' Guide
Commercial Space Companies
  1. Bigelow Aerospace
Western Canada Vendors
  1. BC Telescopes and Nature, 526 Warren Street, Ladysmith, BC. 1-866-245-9356. E-mail: bctelescopes@telus.net
  2. Waddington's Vacuum Coating, E-mail: srwaddington@shaw.ca
  3. Vancouver Telescope Centre, 2565 Yew St., Vancouver, BC. (604)-738-5717. E-mail: john_hartley@telus.net
  4. Island Eypiece and Telescope Ltd, 647 Hunter Pl, Mill Bay, BC. (250)-743-6633. E-mail: sales@islandeyepiece.com
  5. Heavens and Earth Science and Nature Ltd, 311 - 5th St. S., Lethbridge, AB. 1-866-537-6532. E-mail: sales@heavensandearth.com
  6. Western Canadian Sky Trails
  7. Sirius Science and Nature, 227 Main St., Penticton, BC. (250)-770-1477.
  8. SkyNews vendor listing.
Millennium Star Atlas Errors:

Richard Huziak has provided some information about errors in the Millennium Star Atlas: A text introduction, a table and the table in excel format. Please direct any comments and questions to Rick.

Variable Stars

SS Cygni

I like to watch variable stars with an 8 inch Newtonian reflector I made in my basement. One of my favorite stars is the dwarf nova SS Cygni. I made a light curve of SS Cygni during the summer of 1993 based on my visual observations (the diamonds) and visual observations I received by e-mail from Japan (the plus signs). The curve shows two normal explosions separated by 3 anomalous explosions.

RZ Cas

Another star that caught my eye was the eclipsing binary RZ Cas. On one cold (-30 C) night I photographed the star with a 35mm SLR camera with a 50mm lens. From the photographs I was able to estimate the star's magnitude as the big dim red star passed in front of the bright small blue star. The light curve I plotted shows what happened.

Data from vsnet

Star Charts are available from vsnet. Vsnet e-mail addresses are also posted.

AAVSO report software

For those who make less that 50 variable star observations per month and who use the AAVSO report program, I have posted software that converts the output of the AAVSO program into a LaTeX file.

Variable Star Home Pages

  1. AAVSO homepage Yeay for AAVSO!
  2. AAVSO Charts
  3. aavso-discussion group
  4. aavso-discussion group archives
  5. VSNET homepage
  6. Eclipsing Binary Ephemeris Generator
  7. Jochen Pietz, Universitat Bonn, Germany
  8. McMaster Cepheid Homepage
  9. Steve B. Howell, Planetary Science Institute, Astrophysics Group
  11. NovaWeb
  13. Hungarian Astronomical Association - Variable Star Section
  14. Hungarian Astronomical Association - Variable Star Section - FTP
  15. Outburst Activity Data on Selected Cataclysmic Variables
  16. Cataclysmic Variables Home Page
  17. Random Variable
  18. BAV
  19. Stig Linander
  20. ALEXIS Project
  21. US Naval Observatory Time
  22. ADS
  23. HS1804+6753 eclipse
  24. University of Iowa Automated Telescope Facility (UIATF) cataclysmic variable monitoring program.
  25. Variable near the galaxy NGC 3556
  26. IBVS Information Bulletin on Variable Stars.
  27. GAMA, Nicholas Copernicus Observatory, Czech Republic.
  29. British Astronomical Association Variable Star Section
  30. (SAC) Rocznik Astronomiczny Obserwatorium Krakowskiego - some great information on EB's.
  31. Programs for light curves
  32. Fitsview v. 1.3
  33. IOTA
  34. IOTA (old site) (ok it's not really about variable stars, but kinda).
  35. Houston Astronomical Society
  36. Hipparcos
  37. Jerry Gunn's EZPHOT for CCD photometry.
  38. More photometry software from The University of Iowa (for unix).
  39. ALPO
  40. Software
  41. SZ Her
  42. Astrometrica CCD software
  43. Tom Droege, of The Amateur Sky Survey (TASS)
  44. Free CBAT astroid position checker for SN hunters
  45. Variable Star URL's
  46. V1147 Cyg - eclipsing binary - 12th mag. min - observing campaign
  47. AAVSO Mira bulletin program
  48. Commercial robotic telesope mounts
  49. Asteroid occultation charts
  50. Varfind software
  51. High-Energy-Density Physics and Astrophysics Division at LLNL
  52. CVs at LLNL
  53. CVs from Chandra
  54. Miloslav Druckmuller author of image processing software that makes solar eclipse images comparable to naked eye views (S&T, August 2005).
  55. Gravity Simulator multibody orbit simulation software.
  56. US/Russia collaboration in astrophysics Useful explanations of accretion in magnetic fields.
  57. STARE project looking for extra-solar planets.
  1. Brussels Astrotomography Workshop page.
  2. Software from Tom Marsh, including doppler, for doppler imaging of accretion discs, molly for 1D spectrum analysis, and pamela, for reduction from 2D to 1D astronomical spectra.
  3. Henk Spruit preliminary web page, containing his fast Doppler mapping program.
  4. The minimalist web page of Keith Horne. A page with a paper and source code for Doppler tomography
  5. KOREL is a code for spectra disentangling using Fourier transforms, available from P. Hadrava.
  6. Up to date list of publications using Doppler tomography, maintained by Tom Marsh.
  7. Stellar activity working group at the University of Vienna. Includes an impressive collection of Doppler images of stars.
  8. Vik Dhillon's online presentations including the Brussels presentation.
  9. The web page of Mercedes T. Richards with information about Doppler tomography of Algols and hydrodynamic simulations of mass transfer.
  10. Mapping starspots of A. Collier Cameron with the slides of his presentation in Brussels and some eclipsing binary star mapping movies.
  11. The animated homepage of J.-F. Donati.
  12. ULTRACAM is an ultra-fast, triple-beam CCD camera which has been designed to study one of the few remaining unexplored regions of observational parameter space - high temporal resolution. The camera, which has recently been funded in full (292 k) by PPARC, will see first light during 2001 and will be used on 2-m, 4-m and 8-m class telescopes in Australia, the Canary Islands, Chile, Greece, South Africa and Spain to study astrophysics on the fastest timescales. ULTRACAM is a project of V. Dhillon and T. Marsh.
  13. S-Cam is the prototype of a cryogenic camera for ground-based astronomy, based around a 6x6 array of Ta-Al superconducting tunnel junction (STJ) devices, photon-counting array detectors with intrinsic energy resolution. The detector presently provides individual photon arrival time accuracy to about 5 us, and a wavelength resolution of about 60 nm at 500 nm, with each array element capable of counting up to ~5000 photons/sec.
  14. Rob Hynes's binary star visualization.

AAVSO (and other VSO) Observer's Home Pages

  1. Bill Dillon (DIL)
  2. Walter MacDonald (MDW); also check out the nyaa page.
  3. Jerry Gunn (author of a new automated photometry program called EzPhot).
  4. Fraser Farrell
  5. Jean-Francois Donati
  6. Pascal PETIT
  7. Tim Crawford and the clear sky clock for his observatory.


I was the co-author (with Rick Huziak) of a JRASC paper on the October 30, 1993 Western Canada Fireball (see the list of my papers or download a preprint). The MTRACK software mentioned in that paper for computing fireball trajectory and orbits is available.

If you have seen a fireball, please report the fireball by filling out the MIAC fireball report file. Hopefully the fireball will have been picked up on the North American Fireball Camera Network.

Other meteor organizations include the IMO who maintain the FIDAC newsletter.

A very nice map maker, useful for plotting fireball observations on, is resident on the web.

A photo of a "corkscrew meteor" was posted in January 1995.

There is also a nice meteorites home page on the web.

A multi-station Fireball Tracking & Triangulating Network with graphics has been established by Professor Dave Kenyon of Sierra College, Rocklin, California, USA.

Fireball report summaries:

Active meteor observer's web pages: Others: Canadian meteorites:

Randomly selected Fireball News

Jan 9, 1996:

E-Mail message from Andre Knoefel of FIDAC:

Today's newspapers and TV news reported that a fireball appeared over Saitama and Ibaraki prefectures about 16:20 (UTC+9h) on January 7. The fireball travelled in an approximately easterly direction. An explosive sound was reported.

The event was captured on photo/video recording by the residents. A probable fragment (5cm, 60g) of the meteorite also was found.

Yoshiro Yamada, Astronomy Section, Yokohama Science Center, yamada@ysc.go.jp

* The attached map was scanned by Ms Akiko Izumo, YSC.

Mar 21, 2004:

Possible impact hole pictures.


Comet Shoemaker-Levy 9

There's lots of stuff about this comet on the web.

  1. Space Telescope Science Institute SL9 home page
  2. National Space Science Data Center (at GSFC) SL9 home page
  3. University of Arizona's SEDS SL9 home page
  4. University of Arizona's Comet Impact Image Browser

Comet Hyakutake C/1996 B2

Here's a picture taken by myself at 6:11 Mar 24 UT with a 50mm lens at f1.7, 45 sec exposure on Kodak Royal Gold 1000 ASA, stationary tripod:

Some other Comet Hyakutake shots on the web:

  1. Scott Marrin's Picture (RASC Winnipeg)
  2. Damien Lemay's pictures (use "etoiles" when asked for a password)

Comet Hale-Bopp

Views Of Comet Hale-Bopp As Seen In My Homemade 8 Inch Newtonian Reflector:

Comet Hale-Bopp on January 19, 1997, 12:45 U.T.

Comet Hale-Bopp on March 11, 1997, 10:20 U.T.

Comet Hale-Bopp Links

Comet 17P/Holmes

Comet 17P/Holmes As Seen In My Homemade 18 Inch Newtonian Reflector:

Comet 17P/Holmes on October 26, 2007, 04:15 U.T. at 273x, right. Its position (2nd magnitude) in Perseus is shown, left. No apparent tail, diameter roughly twice the apparent diameter of Jupiter.

Comet 17P/Holmes on November 3, 2007, 01:35 U.T. at 91x, right. Its position (3nd magnitude) in Perseus is shown, left. Surface brightness much lower than on October 26. Appearance now fuzzy in 50mm finder; it was starlike on October 26. Not a perfect sphere anymore - fills 80% of the FOV at 91x.

Comet 17P/Holmes on November 15, 2007, 03:45 U.T. at 91x, top.

More comet information can be found on the Comet Observation page or at the icq site.


Links to pages of my photos:

Partial Lunar Eclipse, July 28, 1999, as seen from Saskatoon

Total Lunar Eclipse, January 21, 2000, as seen from Saskatoon (With a small movie!)

Total Lunar Eclipse, August 28, 2008 as seen by my meteor camera fireball3.

Telescope Making Links

  1. ATM Resource List
  2. UK ATM Resources
  3. Amateur Telescope Making Journal
  4. The ATM Page
  5. Telescope Design
  6. Tallahassee Astronomical Society
  7. Build an 8 inch Dobsonian
- Vendors -
  1. Observa-Dome
  2. Deep Space (software)
Info from the rasc listserver (Fri, 15 Nov 96) and Larry Manuel (via e-mail): If you're buying telescopes from the U.S.A., the Revenue Canada Customs Clearance number for telescopes is 9005801000. The the Revenue Canada Customs Clearance number for Telescopes, parts and accessories is 9013903010. Telescopes and related accessories are subject to the GST. As for duty, any telescope with a primary objective, whether it be the mirror or lens which has a diameter under 18" or 456mm ( 45.6cm ) is free of any duty. If the objective is larger than 18" they refer to it as a research grade and has a duty somewhere around 3.5%. Eyepieces, for example, are exempt from duties when we import them, but sometimes things go wrong, and they charge a duties, which are difficult to have refunded. If you ship in a telescope by mail, you will not have any problems. If you ship in a telescope by carrier or courier, they will charge you a "brokerage fee", or, IMHO, a rip-off fee.

Warp Drive Starship Engines

Although there, as yet, no physical solution for the equations of general relativity to allow faster than speed of light travel, there is a mathematical solution. This solution is published in the May 1994 issue of Classical and Quantum Gravity by M. Alcubierre. (Your institution needs to have a paid subscription to that journal before you can download the paper but Alcubierre has made a preprint available.) I plotted his warp fields using Mathematica. The view of the field as presented in Alcubierre's paper is shown above and contoured slices through the field are shown below:

The contours represent space around the starship that is compressed (left) or dilated (right) with respect to time.

Other starship ideas

Gravistars, not Black Holes

Check out the reprint on the physics abstract server about replacing the event horizon in a black hole with a Bose-Einstein condensate to banish the singularity. In other news, an M-theory cyclic universe is possible that explains dark matter, the present acceleration of the expansion of space and the non-zero cosmological constant, see Science296:1436-1439 (2002).

Transit of Venus

Contact Predictions:

Rotation of Earth-Crossing Asteriod 2006 VV2

Rick Huziak

The lightcurve below was produced in a 3-hour run between Mar. 29 06:00 UT and Mar. 29 09:00 using SBIG STL-1301E and ST-9XE cameras on 12" f/6.3 telescopes and a V-band filter from the University of Saskatchewan. In this period, approximately 260 images were taken to produce this curve.

The curve is chaotic, showing the many faces of this asteroid, and indicating that the asteroid rotates in multiple axies, and the entire repeating cycle is longer than 3 hours. What is surprising is that sharpness of the minimae which may indicate an angular or facetted shape to the asteroid.

The curve is from raw data, and some work will be required to remove spurious affects. Points above or below, and away from, the general line are due to appulses with field stars or, in some cases, cosmic ray hits on the image or comparision star. The light curve will be cleaned up at a later date.

The magnitude range is relative to an 8.3 magnitude field star defined as 8.300V for the run. Since the camera had to be moved 6 times to follow the fast motion of this asteroid, all photometry had to be done by transferring standard stars from frame to frame. However, the result of this process does not, in this case, introduce an error in excess of 0.05 magnitudes across the run.

Noctilucent Clouds

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