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2008 Annual Science Report

University of Hawaii, Manoa Reporting  |  JUL 2007 – JUN 2008

The Vysos Project

Project Summary

The VYSOS project aims at surveying all the major star forming regions
all across the entire northern and southern sky for variable young
stars. Two small survey telescopes have been purchased and provide
large area shallow observations, and two larger telescopes allow
deeper more detailed observations. All observations are done

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

As in previous years, my major effort during the past year continues to be the preparation of the VYSOS project. VYSOS (Variable Young Stellar Objects Survey) consists of a 20 inch telescopes, to be mounted in October 2008 in Hawaii at Mauna Loa and a 16 inch telescope already mounted in Chile at Cerro Armazones. The northern telescope is owned and operated by me, and the southern telescope is owned and operated by Rolf Chini, a colleague at the Ruhr-Universitat Bochum in Germany. The goal of our project is to have these two fully robotic telescopes monitor all star forming regions along the entire Galactic plane within about 2 kpc in order to understand the photometric variability of solar-like young stars. Such variability can have a number of causes, mainly accretion activity, starspots, eclipses by companions or dustclouds, and magnetic reconnection events. Almost nothing is known about the timescales and amplitudes of these phenomena, and the VYSOS project will put this on a firm footing by monitoring many tens of thousands of young low-mass stars over the next decade or more.

To survey larger swaths of the sky, we have installed a 135 mm apochromatic refractor at the Mauna Loa Observatory (Figures 1 and 2). It has a 2.9 × 2.9 degree field and can reach 17th magnitude in 5 min exposures (Figure 3). We are currently performing surveys of large areas of the Milky Way with this telescope, together with a similar survey done by a 150 mm refractor installed at our site in Chile. These small but highly efficient telescopes will also be used for monitoring bright comets as they enter the inner Solar System.

Our UHNAI postdoc Martin Paegert from Germany, who started in October 2007, is focusing on the detection of extrasolar planets through transits observed with the VYSOS telescopes. He is very capable with software, and is in charge of developing the extraction techniques needed to find the transiting planets among millions of light curves.

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    Bo Reipurth Bo Reipurth
    Project Investigator
    Martin Paegert
    Josh Walawender
    Objective 1.2
    Indirect and direct astronomical observations of extrasolar habitable planets