This system is also of keen interest to professional researchers. Leading the charge is Dr. Robert Stencel of the University of Denver, known as “Dr. Bob” to many of the amateurs that he works with to coordinate observations of Epsilon Aurigae. Dr. Bob authored the feature article “An End in Sight” in the March 2012 issue of Sky & Telescope. This article describes the latest observational results during the 2009-11 eclipse. Four accompanying sidebars describe how amateurs contributed critical data to help scientists such as Dr. Bob unravel some of Epsilon Aurigae’s deepest mysteries.
Dr. Bob recently took time out of his busy schedule to talk with S&T editor Robert Naeye about Epsilon Aurigae. Part 1 of this conversation covers what astronomers have learned about this binary star from the intensive observations made during this recent eclipse. In Part 2, Dr. Bob talks about his experiences working with amateur astronomers, and their tremendous and growing ability to contribute to cutting-edge scientific research. Both parts last about 13 minutes.