Calibrating the Night Sky with APASS

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Date/Time:Friday, 21 Jan 2011 from 4:10 pm to 5:00 pm
Location:Room 3 Physics
Contact:Lee Anne Willson
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Talk by Arne Henden, American Association Variable Star Observers (AAVSO)

What comparison stars can I use for monitoring P Cygni? How can I obtain a light curve for a near-earth asteroid when it moves many degrees from night to night? How can I find all of the really blue stars in Orion? These questions all require accurate photometric calibration of the entire sky, something that is not currently available. The American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) has a program called the AAVSO Photometric All-Sky Survey (APASS) that is imaging the sky from a northern and a southern hemisphere site, covering hundreds of square degrees every night at five wavelengths. This survey will provide accurate photometry for nearly 100 million stars when it is completed in 2012, but interim releases of photometry are being made every few months. The hardware and software used to create the survey will be discussed, along with initial uses of the data and predictions for the future.