Amateur Astronomer Chases Down Barnard’s Star – You Can Too!

It now covers 9 years (9 animation frames) from 2007 to 2015 (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. so 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. Credit: Rick Johnson

9-year-animation of Barnard’s Star from 2007 to July 2015 as it tracked north through Ophiuchus at the rate of 10.3 arc seconds per year. Amateur Rick Johnson photographed it once each year to create the movie. You can watch the same thing in your telescope — if you’re patient! Credit: Rick Johnson

Tucked away in northern Ophiuchus and well-placed for observing from spring through fall is one of the most remarkable objects in the sky — Barnard’s Star. A magnitude +9.5 red dwarf wouldn’t normally catch our attention were it not for the fact that it speeds across the sky faster than any other star known.

Incredibly, you can actually see its motion with a small telescope simply by dropping by once a year for 2-3 years and taking note of its position against the background stars. For one amateur astronomer, recording its wandering ways became a 9-year mission.(…)
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© Bob King for Universe Today, 2015. |
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