Project's success spawns a new effort to study other local sky events
While many astronomical collaborations use powerful telescopes to target individual objects in the distant universe, a new project at The Ohio State University is doing something radically different: using small telescopes to study a growing portion of the nearby universe all at once.
On the left is a Sloan Digital Sky Survey archival image of a galaxy some 400 million light years away in which the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN, pronounced 'assassin') detected a bright supernova on Jan. 3, 2015. On the right is an image submitted by ASAS-SN amateur contributor Seiichiro Kiyota of the Variable Star Observers League in Japan, which confirmed the existence of the supernova.
Credit: ASAS-SN image courtesy of The Ohio State University
The strategy is paying off. At the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting in Seattle this week, researchers reported early successes from the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN, pronounced "assassin").
Since it officially launched in May 2014, ASAS-SN has detected 89 bright supernovae and counting--more than all other professional astronomical surveys combined.
Right now, the survey consists of six 6-inch telescopes--four in Hawaii and two in Chile--and a cadre of telescopes volunteered by amateurs around the world. Two additional telescopes are set to go online early in 2015. And because the survey is capturing hundreds of other bright, local objects in addition to supernovae, Ohio State researchers are about to launch a series of spin-off projects, each geared to serve the growing interests of amateurs and professional astronomers alike.
ASAS-SN covers the nearest 500 million light years around the Milky Way Galaxy--about 1 percent of the observable universe, the edge of which is more than 46 billion light years away.
"It's natural to be interested in our local neighborhood. This is where we live, this is where the action is," said Krzysztof Stanek, professor of astronomy at Ohio State.
"ASAS-SN is the only survey to study the local universe. Our early success proves that small telescopes can do big things, and the interest we've received from the astronomical community has quickly grown to the point that we need additional projects to cover other types of detection events besides supernovae."
In particular, ASAS-SN has spotted more than 250 cataclysmic variables--stars that vary dramatically in brightness. At AAS, Ohio State doctoral student A. Bianca Danilet announced the launch of an ASAS-SN offshoot called the CV Patrol, which will track cataclysmic variable data from small telescopes online and in real time.
"This approach to looking at the nearby universe is proving successful in part because it's affordable, utilizes the efforts of highly motivated citizen scientists, and has the global reach necessary to spot these events and track them. It also just may provide information about the physics of these bright and transient phenomena that far-seeing telescopes cannot," Danilet said.
Doctoral student Thomas Holoien agreed, adding that big telescopes are too sensitive to capture details of bright, nearby events. In that way, ASAS-SN complements the efforts of the big surveys. "We pick up where they leave off," he said.
Aside from cataclysmic variables, ASAS-SN has picked up two nearby tidal disruption events--extremely rare sightings of what happens when a black hole captures a portion of a nearby star--and many M dwarf flares, which are believed to emanate from stars with extremely strong magnetic fields.
Even though all these bright events happen in our local neighborhood, nobody is sure exactly how often they occur, said Christopher Kochanek, professor of astronomy at Ohio State and the Ohio Eminent Scholar in Observational Cosmology. ASAS-SN gives astronomers a chance to learn more about these events by seeing them up close.
Because ASAS-SN discoveries are made public online (at http://www.
This work is primarily funded by the National Science Foundation and Center for Cosmology and Astro Particle Physics at Ohio State. Holoien is funded by the Department of Energy Computational Science Graduate Fellowship. Additional support came from the Mt. Cuba Astronomical Foundation and a private donation from retired Homewood Corp. CEO George Skestos. ASAS-SN telescopes are hosted by the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network.
Contacts: Krzysztof Stanek, (614) 292-3433; Stanek.email@example.com
Christopher Kochanek, (614) 292-5954; Kochanek.firstname.lastname@example.org
Written by Pam Frost Gorder, (614) 292-9475; Gorder.email@example.com.
Pam Frost Gorder | EurekAlert!
Squeezing light at the nanoscale
18.06.2018 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
The Fraunhofer IAF is a »Landmark in the Land of Ideas«
15.06.2018 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Angewandte Festkörperphysik IAF
Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.
Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...
The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.
Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.
An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.
Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...
Light detection and control lies at the heart of many modern device applications, such as smartphone cameras. Using graphene as a light-sensitive material for...
Water molecules exist in two different forms with almost identical physical properties. For the first time, researchers have succeeded in separating the two forms to show that they can exhibit different chemical reactivities. These results were reported by researchers from the University of Basel and their colleagues in Hamburg in the scientific journal Nature Communications.
From a chemical perspective, water is a molecule in which a single oxygen atom is linked to two hydrogen atoms. It is less well known that water exists in two...
13.06.2018 | Event News
08.06.2018 | Event News
05.06.2018 | Event News
18.06.2018 | Earth Sciences
18.06.2018 | Process Engineering
18.06.2018 | Life Sciences