The Role of Small Telescopes in Modern Astronomy, October 14-15, 1996, Lowell Observatory


Observations of T Tauri Stars and Supernovae with the 0.6 m Telescope at Van Vleck Observatory

William Herbst (wherbst@wesleyan.edu), Katherine Rhode, Aaron Steinhauer and Adam Heinlein
Astronomy Dept., Wesleyan University

The 0.6 m telescope at Van Vleck Obs. on the campus of Wesleyan University has been used since 1991 to monitor portions of the Orion Nebula Cluster in the Cousins I band. About 600 stars are monitored each year. We also monitor bright supernovae. Undergraduate students do most of the observing, data reduction and analysis. Here we highlight the discovery of additional rotation periods and an updated version of the bimodal period distribution based on five years of monitoring the ONC. We have also detected some stars which show rapid declines in brightness similar to what is expected for an eclipsing binary. No definite periods have yet been found, however. SN 1994ae was observed extensively at Wesleyan in BVRI. An image taken after the supernova faded has allowed us to carefully correct the photometry for contamination by the host galaxy. Light curves in all four colors are presented. Since this is a Type Ia supernova, the data will be useful in addressing issues such as the homogeneity of Type Ia light curves and the calibration of the Hubble constant.


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