Washington, January 29 (ANI): Two amateur astronomers in central Florida, US, have discovered a violent explosion of a distant star in our Galaxy.
The two astronomers, Dr. Barbara Harris of New Smyrna Beach and Shawn Dvorak of Clermont, were active participants in a global research campaign to monitor activity of the star U Scorpii.
Their detection of this explosion in the early morning hours of January 28 served as the trigger for a number of satellites and ground-based telescopes waiting on this important event.
U Sco, an object known as a recurrent nova, had been predicted to outburst during a two-year window beginning in the spring of 2008.oth Harris and Dvorak had been conducting long-term monitoring as part of a campaign run by the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO).
This campaign, organized by Dr. Bradley Schaefer (Louisiana State University), involved professional and amateur observers from around the world monitoring this star every night throughout that two-year window.
Their persistence paid off early in the morning of January 28.
Harris was first to detect the outburst shortly before 6 a.m. local time, with Dvorak's independent detection arriving shortly afterward.
The two near-simultaneous observations provided all the proof required to alert observers and observatories around the world and in space that U Sco's outburst had finally occurred.
Within an hour, Schaefer set in motion the global network of observatories, and by the end of the morning, two X-ray satellites (the Rossi X-Ray Timing Observatory and the INTEGRAL satellite) had already made observations.
Over the next several months, astronomers will be monitoring the progress of this outburst at nearly all wavelengths of light from radio waves to X-rays using a number of ground-based telescopes and spaceborne observatories.
Amateur astronomers around the world will continue to participate in the observing campaign, providing data to complement the observations made by larger ground- and space-based telescopes. (ANI)