Lenomiya Astronomical Observatory  MPC H13
A private astronomical research observatory in the American Southwest
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EQUIPMENTVariable Star Research


After establishment of the observatory in 2008, and a period of observational training and developing the technical ability to operate the CPC800, in 2009 I began to work in asteroid (minor planets) occultations and submitting reports to the International Occultation and Timing Association (IOTA). The word "occultation" sounds odd, but it is simply a term used to describe the process of an asteroid passing in front of a star, thus "occulting" or blocking the light of the star. Asteroid occultations are useful for measuring the size and position of asteroids much more precisely than can be done by any other means. A cross-sectional profile of the shape of an asteroid can even be determined if a number of observers at different locations observe the occultation.  ​For more information on minor planet occultations, contact IOTA. An occultation of asteroid 216 Kleopatra in 2009 can be seen here.
Astrometry and Photometry
In  2009, with the acquisition of a CPC1100, the research at Lenomiya moved from asteroidal occultations to asteroid astrometry, the branch of astronomy that involves precise measurements of the positions and movements of stars and other celestial bodies, including asteroids. High precision imaging via the use of CCD cameras allows astronomers to measure the exact position of an asteroid at a specific point in time and space, This information is forwarded to the Minor Planet Center where it is compiled and used to refine the orbital positions of known asteroids. With only about half a million asteroids discovered and millions more yet to be found, astrometry by both professional and amateur astronomers is critical to track these bodies and continue to build databases to reduce the Earth impact hazard

This year I began the learning process to observe and report luminosity changes to variable stars.A variable star is a star whose brightness as seen from Earth (its apparent magnitude) fluctuates.Research on variables stars is important for deriving stellar properties, e.g., mass, radius, luminosity, temperature, internal and
external structure, chemical composition and their evolution.

Once Lenomiya's astrometry work reached a certain level of accuracy and consistency in 2009, the Minor Planet Center, which operates at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory (SAO), under the auspices of Division III of the International Astronomical Union (IAU), recognized Lenomiya by awarding an observatory designation, H13.

The current research at my observatory is asteroid photometry, imaging asteroids over a time period and generating photometric curves, also referred to as lightcurves  (graphs of the change in brightness with time). These graphs are used by both amateur and professional astronomers to determine many parameters of asteroids, such as rotational periods, amplitude, reflectivity, size, rotation axis and even shape. The current results of my lightcurve research can be examined .

Variable stars​

A variable star is a star whose brightness a
s seen from Earth (its apparent magnitude) fluctuates.
This variation may be caused by a change in emitted 
light or by something partly blocking the light, so variable 
stars are classified as either:

-Intrinsic variables, whose luminosity actually changes; 
for example, because the star periodically swells and shrinks.

-Extrinsic variables, whose apparent changes in brightness 
are due to changes in the amount of their light that can 
reach Earth; for example, because the star has an orbiting 
companion that sometimes eclipses it.

The science of variable star astronomy teaches us about 
one important part of the universe -- the stars. Stars are 
the primary engines of cosmic evolution, particularly 
in the creation of elements heavier than hydrogen and 
helium which make up us and the world that we live in. 
Further, stars and their systems of planets are the only 
likely places we will find life in the universe; by 
studying stars (including our own Sun), we are also learning 
about possible abodes for life. Research on variable stars is 
important because it provides information about stellar 
properties, such as mass, radius, luminosity, temperature, internal and external structure, composition, and evolution. Some of this information would be difficult or impossible to obtain any other way. In many cases, it is the nature of the variability that provides the clues to the answers. This information can then be used to understand other stars.

Variable stars need to be systematically observed over decades in order to determine their long-time behavior. Professional astronomers have neither the available time nor the unlimited telescope access needed to gather data on the brightness changes of thousands of variable stars. Thus, it is amateur astronomers utilizing visual, photographic, photoelectric, and CCD techniques who are making a real and highly useful contribution to science by observing variable stars and submitting their observations to the AAVSO International Database. These important data are needed to analyze variable star behavior, to schedule satellite observations of certain stars, to correlate data from satellite and ground-based observations, and to make computerized theoretical models of variable stars possible.

 Variable stars play a crucial role in our understanding of the universe.

​On February 21, 2012, amateur astronomer Luis Martinez was accepted as a Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) of Great Britain, by a vote of the Society’s Council. The Council, all university professors in the United Kingdom, made the vote at their February 10, 2012 meeting in London. The 'Astronomical Society of London' was conceived on January 12, 1820, when 14 gentlemen sat down to dinner at the Freemason's Tavern, in Lincoln's Inn Fields, London. The new Society was born on 10 March 1820 with the first meeting of the Council and the Society as a whole.

From the early years meetings were held where astronomical research and discussion could be aired. The Society at first met in various locations, including the rooms of the Geological Society, then in Bedford St, Covent Garden. In 1874 the Society moved to specially built premises in part of Burlington House, Piccadilly, which it has occupied ever since. The first meeting in this new home was held on November 13, 1874 .  Members of the Society are 'Fellows' (regardless of gender) and may use the honorific postnomen 'FRAS'.

Fellowship means participating in the leading UK organization promoting astronomy, geophysics and related sciences, and is open to any person over the age of 18 whose application is acceptable to the Society. Around half the Fellowship consists of PhD-level professional scientists (including more than 90% of UK Professors of Astronomy); a quarter are postgraduate researchers or retired scientists; and the remainder are amateur scientists and undergraduates.

Royal Astronomical Society
This image is copyright Mark A. Garlick and has been used with permission. Please do not use this image in any way whatsoever without first contacting the artist.