What is the Swift RoboticTelescope Up To and How Does That Help Me Learn About The Universe?
This may bore a lot of you and if so, pass along please. This site at this LINK, shows you the targets that are proposed and approved for the Swift Robotic Telescope. Swift was launched in November 2004 to study Gamma Ray Bursts or GRB's and it has done its mission with success so far (keeps going also). Swift as mentioned continues to run and perform and has 942 GRB detections to its credit, with around 15 GRBs detected in 2015.
So why post this? Well, if your stuck at home one evening instead of out under the stars like I am tonight, you can go to the link, see the object that is proposed, Google it and you usually find some interesting articles to look at and review. My first share is from a google search that shared a portion of the book Observing Variable Stars that explains why V Sge is important. You can find that here at this LINK. V Sge was discovered in 1902 as a variable star but not until 1965 was it found to be a binary star system with an orbital period of 12h.3. This star and the others that are similar are a puzzle in many ways to astronomers, but we do know and there seems to be agreement that they have an evolved component. What that actual component is is not sure, and speculation is that it could be a sub-dwarf star, a white dwarf star, a neutron star, a black-hole or perhaps a He Main Sequence Star. Most papers tend to run with either a white dwarf, neutron star or black-hole being the component. It is also possible that we are seeing hydrostatic burning on the upper shell on a white dwarf star as the massive white dwarf accretes matter from a companion star at a very high rate. This explains the supersoft X-ray binary as does a neutron star model in some circumstances.
See, for me, that was all new information that I learned from doing I what I suggested and doing some research. I personally feel, it is rather cool to learn what is going on in terms of research and to learn about the science behind the hobby. I also ordered a new book tonight online.
For more examples, V Sge is a variable star that over at the AAVSO they have a page for it (LINK). There is an article on how V Sge is a also a very good candidate for a SN Type Ia in the future and why that is. So studying V Sge helps to find the characteristics of stars like these in astronomers attempts to find more of them, since so far, we haven't found a lot of them. This article shows observations of a star Q Carinae in order to identify it as a V Sge class star LINK.
So that is simply one entry of what is going on on Swift and I took that and learned a lot from it. I learned about five other things from looking at some of the objects but won't share that or bore you with that tonight. Needless to say, there is a lot to do when one cannot be out under the stars if one wants.