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Shadow plays

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 tl;dr - Between the 25th October 2022 and the 7th November 2022, i.e. in a timespan of only two weeks, our astronomy group witnessed four eclipses.  Four? Ok, I can imagine your incredulous look, so let's be more specific: It weren't all solar eclipses, just three of them. Even more incredulous now? Stop furrowing your eyebrow and let me walk you through every single event. 25th October 2022: Partial solar eclipse over Bruneck The weather forecast for the day was good and so we had taken our preparations seriously. We were equipped with several solar eclipse goggles, a solar projector and a binocular with safety filters. By 11 a.m. we had set up a small stand outside the school building, ready to let as many of our fellow students as possible enjoy the show. However, a thick and grey layer of fog stubbornly claimed the lead role for itself. We had to play the waiting game for almost 1.5 hours ere we could eventually start with our observations. Nonetheless for the remaining 30

A lucky fella

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 tl;dr - David Cont, who could very well be called a founding member of our astronomy group, is a lucky fellow. Last August he enjoyed a two-week observational stay at the monumental VLT observatory in Chile.  In 2008 the astronomy group of our school saw the light of the day. Actually it wasn't the light of the day, it was star light. And it wasn't any star, it was CY Aquarii, our up to the present favourite star in the entire universe (though there's a tight race between him and the sun going on). In a painstakingly laborious project we used the constant and remarkably short period of its brightness changes to derive the speed of light in vacuum, something Ole Römer had done about 300 years earlier. Back then (in 2008, not 300 years ago) David was one of the most dedicated team members and would stay one of the pillars of our group for the years to come. However, all good things come to an end and when David passed his final exam in 2010 the time to say farewell had come.

Can't take my eyes off you

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 tl;dr - At the end of the school year 2021/22 we installed an all-sky camera on the roof of our school building. For over three weeks now the gadget has reliably delivered live images of the day and night sky. Our main goal is to catch some impressive meteors and bolides. A few weeks ago we were finally able to set an end to a year-long struggle and installed our DIY all-sky camera on the roof of our school building. The first steps of this project were already made back in December 2019, but soon after, the Corona virus made its dreadful appearance on the global stage and the pandemic showed to be a hard-to-shake-off millstone around the neck of the endeavor.  Now, however, we are past the first test phase of the cam and everything seems to run smoothly. Let us get you acquainted with what we have.  We proudly present our all-sky camera!  In the image you see the fisheye lens (Fujinon 2.7mm), the video camera (ASI 174MM) and the Raspberry Pi 4B along with the waterproof housing. The

CY Aqr - Primus inter pares

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tl;dr -  The study of the variable star CY Aqr is a long-term and well-aged project of our astronomy group. Since 2008 a considerable commitment has been made and it payed off with the publication of several scientific papers. Time for a look back. The star CY Aqr in the constellation of Aquarius is especially dear to our hearts. Our first tries at measuring the changing brightness of this remarkable variable date back to - from the viewpoint of current students - almost prehistoric ages, i.e. the year 2008. Now, more than 13 years later, it is time for an inventory. I figure it's not a spoiler at all if I anticipate to you: We were busy as bees. season nights frames maxima 2008 14 5291 28 2010 12 2346 24 2011 12 3466 29 2012 5 1296 7 2013 7 2242 15 2014 6 3819 16 2015 21 9544 31 2016 10

You can't argue with the Universe

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Dear Universe, you have quite a lot of asteroids strolling about in the outer regions of our Solar System. One of them, the big one with almost 600 km of diameter and an orbital period of about 400 years, the one we call by the odd name 2002 TC302 , that's the reason we are writing you today. Well, this asteroid recently caught the attention of us earthlings, since on 11 November 2021 it is going to occult the 11.7 mag dim star  UCAC4 616-007599 - odd name, too, we know and we swear we had nothing to do with that. However,  the roaming rock will cast its 600 km wide shadow on our home planet Earth and everyone who happens to stand in the right spot, will see the star suddenly vanish for up to 21 seconds.  Sorry, we forgot to duly introduce ourselves: We are four members of the students astronomy group 'astrocusanus' and some of your biggest fans. You probably hear that often, but believe us, this is not the usual 'kiss the Universe's ass' stuff. No, we are the

'First shadow'

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 tl;dr - On the evening of 27 October 2021 we observed the transit of the exoplanet Qatar 4b in front of its host star. The magnitude drop amounted to about 2% and was clearly detected. This measurement is not only a valuable contribution to science, we also consider this a worthy 'first shadow' of our new telescope, which due to the Covid pandemic was left unused for painfully long months. The restrictions and curfews of the last one and a half years have sent our once lively students astronomy group into a quite extended doze. However, with most of the restrictions alleviated this autumn we were ready to give it a go once more. We were especially eager to finally test the capabilities of our new telescope in depth, first and foremost the increased light gathering power. The leap from 10 to 16 inch of primary mirror diameter promises a 60% deeper reach into the universe. While other proud owners of a new scope usually celebrate the start of the new and happy era with a so cal

A gentle kiss

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tl;dr - On 10 June 2021 several students of our school were (once more) able to witness a partial solar eclipse. Although the maximum coverage was of only four lousy percent it was a worthy astronomical finale for this school year. Those who missed the celestial spectacle this time will have to wait for more than one and a half years to get the next chance. On 20 March 2015 a partial solar eclipse was visible over Europe and the students astronomy group 'astrocusanus' tried their best to allow as many students as possible to witness the stunning event. Back then it was a great success and moreover a merry and informal gathering of members of our school community of all ages. So we obviously did not hesitate when sun and moon came to terms to deliver a similar show, right at the end of this school year. Now it has to be admitted that the two made a questionable choice in favoring the two handful of observers in Northern Greenland during their 2021 performance. But who are we to