First Steps in Monitoring RR Tau

When I’m busy my life becomes a positive feedback loop as I do more things not only my ability but my desire to do those things increases. I’ve been busy these last couple of weeks with my normal work coming to an end. There is some sense of urgency to get as much done before I’m done. But also, getting my RR Tau project off the ground while maintaining this site as documentation.

AND I just joined a novice outrigger canoe racing team with Petra and Joe. We have a race in two weeks with practice every day. Holy cow is it fun though.

Conversely, the opposite also tends to be true. When I have nothing to do it’s very easy for me slip into a hole of naps and cake making/eating. I had last Friday off because it was Good and I managed to surprise myself in how much I was able to get done. Most of it consisted of a nice back-and-forth between Vladimir and me.

I mentioned in my previous post Bernadette and I were curious if MMO had been monitoring RR Tau since the paper was published last fall so I emailed Vladimir to ask. He responded saying that they stopped monitoring RR Tau, they’ve moved on to white dwarfs and binary systems, but that he would be willing to continue monitoring the star if I had a solid, new idea that would warrant the effort. He also expressed doubts on my ability to get time on Gemini.

It was good to have someone question the merits of the project because I really needed to think of the best way to justify it. Vladimir seemed to be coming around to the idea but he was right in pointing out that this cannot just be a monitoring project. There has to be an underlying astrophysical idea that guides the project. I’ve got the beginnings of that with my focus on the [O I] line and trying to associate that with the long term variability but I want to go much deeper. I really need to read more papers that go into the physics of dust and gas evolution in stellar environments so I can get a better idea of what direction I should look in.

I’ve also started to look into the process of applying for time on Gemini. I downloaded the application package and started going through it but I can’t actually apply for anything until RR Tau is above the horizon which isn’t until late August.

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