MagAO 2018A Day 8: She blinded me with 73 clouds

Last night was my first night, and after I bragged about bringing the clear skies with me, the clouds rolled in. Nevertheless, we got some good data, if “good” can be defined as finding out a star is binary when I was hoping it would not be.

Note: It is possible to take 73 full frame coadds or cube images with Clio. Yes, 73. That’s tonight’s magic number, in case you’re entering the lottery.

This week has been exciting for the astronomical community, with the 2nd Gaia data release. We now know the distances to 1.3 billion stars, and some at fantastic precision. One of my favorite disk-hosting stars, HD 141569, was in the catalog of the Hipparcos mission with a parallax of 10.10 +/- 0.83 mas (that’s about 99 pc +/- 9 pc or 323 +/- 30 light years). The new parallax is 9.04 +/- 0.04 mas — yes, you read that correctly, a factor of more than 20 improvement in our knowledge of the distance (now 110.6 +/- 0.5 pc). There’s so much to do with the data for studying associations of young stars; it’s going to be a lot of fun.

Can I find a star that is 73 pc away you ask? Why, of course. There’s HD 89252 (actually 73.4 +/- 0.3 pc).

The fun here at Magellan is in studying individual stars’ environments in great detail, when the clouds stay away. I want to turn from clouds to science.

A cloudy sunset was followed by more clouds, some thinner clouds, and then more clouds.

I also want to educate Katie on 80s New Wave Pop:

And, yes, I read the rules, so here’s the cover.

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