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Annual Barnard's Star Animation -- Now spanning 10 years

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#1 Rick J

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 03:15 PM

This is my annual update to my movie of the proper motion of Barnard's Star.  It now spans 10 years (10 animation frames) from 2007 to 2016 (July).  Nothing much has changed but for its location keeps moving north.  For those looking to find it visually the arrowhead asterism to the south seen in the full frame image which is about a half degree wide and a third of a degree high (field the asterism is much smaller). The field fits a medium power telescope field of view.  The galaxy near the bottom of the image is CGCG 056-003, a 15.6 magnitude galaxy some 360 million light-years distant and 85,000 light-years across.

Barnard's Star is the second closest star system to us after the Alpha Centauri system at a distance of 5.96 or 5.98 light-years depending on who you believe.  It has the highest proper motion of any known star by quite a margin.  It moves about 10.3 seconds of arc per year.  That means it is moving at about 90.5 km/s across our line of sight.  But it is moving even faster toward us at a speed of about 106.8 to 110.8 km/s depending again on who you believe.  This gives it a velocity of about 140 km/s relative to the sun.  That sucker is really moving so is sometimes called Barnard's Runaway Star.  This means it will be closer to us than Proxima Centauri is now but then Proxima is moving toward us as well. In the year 11,800 Barnard's Star will be as close to us as it will get at 3.75 light-years but Proxima will be very slightly closer.  Proxima will be slow to give up its place as our closest star after the sun but some 33,000 years from now it will have to give the honor to ROSS 248 at about 3 light-years.  In about 40,000 years it will give up closest honors to Gliese 245.  Then about 50,000 years from now Alpha Centauri itself will be the closest star.  Actually for about 5,000 prior to Ross 248 being closest it will be so close to the same distance as Proxima that it depends on who you believe as to which of these two stars is closest.

Barnard's star is a very typical old red dwarf at least 8 billion years old and it could be as much as 12 billion years old.  Being old it rotates slowly having lost much of its rotational speed of its youth, now taking 150 days to rotate.  Young red stars usually have severe flares likely frying any habitable planets.  Old stars like Barnard's are thought to rotate so slowly they no longer flare but Barnard's star did send up a strong flare in 1998 surprising many.

The number of frames and exposure times of the frames varied greatly over the years.  Some was due to weather but mostly just because I was trying to find a way to match previous years more closely.  That seemed to always fail so this year I just used my standard four 10 minute luminance exposure times and 2 10 minute frames for each color.  I just added this frame to the animation from 2015 (and this text is mostly from 2015).  The animation is at 1" per pixel but doesn't begin to go as deep as I usually do because some of the years used only 2 minute subs and less than 10 minutes of total time and most of the others were adjusted to match.  In 2014 I didn't try to fully match past years and this year I sort of matched 2014 but left it slightly brighter.

Note that below Barnard's star in this year's image there is a tight trio of stars.  Some years it was hidden behind the glare of Barnard's star but for all years the bottom star was seen it was the dimmest.  Not this year, it is the brightest!  I don't know if it is processing or real.  Short of reprocessing all 10 years I just can't tell if processing is involved somehow.  Looking at the FITS from prior years it seems always the dimmest until this year.  It may have flared during one or more of the years it was hidden from view.  This image was taken July 9 UT.  At least the luminance was.  Color had been taken previous nights under less suitable conditions including moonlight.  But with prior years available for color balance that wasn't a problem.

I've been asked in the past for an annotated image of the background galaxies.  Many have no redshift.  Still I gave in this time and made one but you won't find it very useful.  Only 5 galaxies have redshift information, one of which I've already mentioned.  The other 4 seem to be part of a galaxy group but I found none listed at NED. I've identified all NED lists in my image, most don't even have a magnitude estimate let alone a redshift measurement.

2016 image:
14" LX200R @ f/10, L=4x10' RGB=2x10', STL-11000XM, Paramount ME

 

Full image at 1" per pixel

 

Annotated

 

10 year animation

Rick

Attached Thumbnails

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#2 Lightpath

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 03:41 PM

WOW this is awesome!  It's a very clever idea.



#3 nickatnight

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 04:09 PM

That's super. Thanks for sharing.



#4 WesC

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 05:57 PM

Amazing! The universe is alive!



#5 Magellanico

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 06:22 PM

Very good and interesting information. Excellent work. Keep posting more.



#6 Chris Talpas

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Posted 15 July 2016 - 11:02 PM

Rick,

I do appreciate you sharing this project.  It's really neat to see just how much it moves.

Chris



#7 jhayes_tucson

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 12:04 AM

Rick,

i love this stuff!  It's great work -- thanks for sharing.

John



#8 R Botero

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 02:30 AM

I look forward every year for your update Rick  :bow:  Thank you for sharing with us. 

 

Roberto



#9 james7ca

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Posted 16 July 2016 - 07:59 PM

That's very cool, thanks for taking the time to do this post.



#10 chrysalis

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 04:12 AM

The animation is very impressive!



#11 ChrisWhite

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 06:06 AM

Well this is super cool.  I had no idea.  What a great description to go with.   Thanks for sharing!



#12 HxPI

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 08:13 AM

Awesome info. I learned something!

 

Thanks for sharing.

 

Ciao,

Mel



#13 tolgagumus

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 08:47 AM

WOW this is great. Do you mind if I share it with people in my club


Edited by tolgagumus, 17 July 2016 - 08:47 AM.


#14 Rick J

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 01:28 PM

WOW this is great. Do you mind if I share it with people in my club

 

That's why I posted it.

 

While all basic books on astronomy mention Barnard's star and many have two or more pictures showing the motion or one picture with it shown several times it seems the animation is what it takes to get the idea across that this little fellow is really a speedy fellow.

 

Rick



#15 schwim

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 07:13 PM

Love it!

#16 John Miele

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 08:10 PM

Just awesome Rick!



#17 paul hart

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 08:15 PM

That is great wow!!!! :bow:



#18 nmoushon

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 12:18 PM

Love the gif! Great work and ability to keep up with it for 10 years! 



#19 zackyd

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 01:12 PM

Incredible animation. It's quite impressive to see that star move so much and not be able to find any other movement in the rest of the frame

#20 Tom Polakis

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 07:20 PM

Great job, Rick.  At bottom center in your annotated image is an asterism that looks like a V pointing to the left.  That same asterism appears on p. 1252 of "Burnhams Celestial Handbook" next to the label for where Barnard's Star was in 1960.

 

Tom



#21 rigel123

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 08:51 PM

Totally awesome!  But the really amazing thing is that I can't believe another year has gone by already!



#22 DugDog

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 10:25 PM

APOD?  That's some amazing work Rick!  Congrats!



#23 edif300

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Posted 19 July 2016 - 04:06 PM

Wow! Great work



#24 A. Viegas

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 08:08 AM

This is a very interesting idea, thanks Rick

It got me wondering what would be the apparent magnitude of Barndard's star at closest approach?  I found this link: http://beyondearthly...and-future.html      which gives a future prediction graph of the closest approaches for stars to the solar system with Ross 24B coming under 3ly distant to the sun in some 40k years from now...  also interesting was the fact that Algol came within 9.8ly of the Sun 7.3 million years ago and it would have been at almost -3 magnitude!

Al



#25 Tom Polakis

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Posted 20 July 2016 - 10:33 AM

This is a very interesting idea, thanks Rick

It got me wondering what would be the apparent magnitude of Barndard's star at closest approach?  I found this link: http://beyondearthly...and-future.html      which gives a future prediction graph of the closest approaches for stars to the solar system with Ross 24B coming under 3ly distant to the sun in some 40k years from now...  also interesting was the fact that Algol came within 9.8ly of the Sun 7.3 million years ago and it would have been at almost -3 magnitude!

Al

 

Al,

 

Thanks for that graph of distance predictions.  I wasn't aware of that site.

 

If Barnard's Star will approach as close as 3.75 l-y, and it's currently 5.97 l-y away, then it will be 2.53 times as bright as it is today.  Just use the inverse square law: (5.97/3.75)^2 = 2.53.  In the stellar magnitude scale, a factor of 2.512 in brightness is one magnitude.  That's close enough to say that Barnard's star will be one magnitude brighter, or magnitude 8.5.

 

Tom




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