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Eagle Creek Observatory - Carbon Stars

posted by Tom Bisque

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Eagle Creek Observatory - Carbon Stars

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To Install:

  1. Download and unzip the files in this archive to the SDBs folder of TheSkyX's Application Support Files
  2. From TheSkyX, click the Database Manager command from the Input menu.
  3. Expand Sky Databases, then My Sky Databases and turn on the appropriate checkbox for this SDB.
  4. Once the downloaded file has been unzipped/extracted to the folder above it will appear in TheSkyX under Input>Database Manager>Sky Databases (SDBs)>My Sky Databases. To enable the SDB place a check here

Search the

SDB using the Prefix "EC-Carbon".

  • Edit>Find EC-Carbon VX And Edit>Find EC-Carbon V466 Cas

Object Type: Variable Star
Maximum Mag.: 7.5000
Minimum Mag.: 9.6900
Period: 375.0000
Source Catalog: GCVS (General Catalog of Variable Stars)
Constellation: Andromeda
Spectral Type: C4,5J(N7)
Type of Variable: SRA
Magnitude: 7.50

Why are Carbon Stars so interesting? What exactly is a Carbon Star and why are they so red?

I have always liked to look at strange objects in the night sky and something like a Carbon Star seemed pretty strange to me. I like to see colors and stars are the only object that show any hint of color in a modestly sized telescope anyway.

Stars show different colors because they are different temperatures. How do scientists take a star's temperature? You can't tell a star to "open wide and say ahhhhh" or tell it to lie on it's belly and ...uh... you know... so how do we take the temperature? It's the colo rs of the stars that tells the temperature. The colors range from bright blue to red as they vary from hottest to coolest.

So what does this tell us about Carbon Stars? It tells us that they must be very cool. Very cool usually means very old or very large, sometimes it means both. Also, very old sometimes means that the stars are variable stars. Most Carbon Stars are variable stars and some vary greatly in brightness over just a few days but most vary over months or years. Some so much so that they can fade completely from the view in an average backyard telescope. Some Carbon Stars are so red that they are difficult to see. They shine most of their energy in the infra-red.

So where can I see these Carbon Stars? I'm glad you asked. Here is a table of the "reddest" Carbon Stars that I have observed. If there is a camera icon click on it for my photograph if this star.

Where the spectral type is followed by "..." the star is a variable and the spectral characteristics change. Click on the star name to view the SIMBAD data for this star.


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