COE Observatory Report


Tennessee State University
Center of Excellence in Information Systems
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

This report covers the interval July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018.

The TSU Automated Astronomy Group within the TSU Center of Excellence in Information Systems concentrates on stellar astrophysics using photometric, spectroscopic, imaging, and interferometric techniques to study cool giants, chromospherically active stars, solar-type stars, planetary-candidate host stars, binary and multiple stars, and pulsating variables. Data for these programs have been acquired with robotic telescopes and instrumentation developed in coordination with Louis Boyd, the Director of Fairborn Observatory in southern Arizona. Astronomy staff at the Center during this interval were Geoffrey S. Burks, Francis C. Fekel, Gregory W. Henry, Matthew W. Muterspaugh, and Michael H. Williamson. Burks and Muterspaugh hold faculty appointments in the TSU Department of Mathematics and Physics. Fekel has retired but continues as an emeritus research associate. Muterspaugh continues to lead the Automated Astronomy Group.


Center of Excellence astronomers continue to develop and operate automated telescopes and instrumentation at Fairborn Observatory in the Patagonia mountains of southern Arizona. Fairborn Observatory is a non-profit Educational Corporation directed by Louis J. Boyd and dedicated to the design, construction, and operation of automated telescopes at a dark sky site. Operational TSU telescopes include the T3 0.40 m automated photometric telescope (APT) for Johnson BV photometry, the T4 0.75 m APT for Stromgren by photometry, the T8, T10, T11, and T12 0.80 m APTs, also for Stromgren by photometry with 2-channel photometers, the T13 2.0 m automatic spectroscopic telescope (AST) for high-resolution echelle spectroscopy, and the Celestron 14-inch (C14) automated imaging telescope (AIT). The table below gives the number of years each telescope has been operational and their current observing program(s).

TSU Automatic Telescope Summaries

Telescope Type Years Primary Observing Program(s)
T2 0.25 m APT 20 Semi-Regular Variables (Decommissioned 2007)
T3 0.40 m APT 31 Chromospherically Active Stars, Pulsating Stars, Exoplanet Search, Solar-Type Stars
T4 0.75 m APT 26 Solar-Type Stars
T8 0.80 m APT 23 Solar-Type Stars
T10 0.80 m APT 18 Solar-Type Stars, Exoplanet Search
T11 0.80 m APT 17 Solar-Type Stars, Exoplanet Search (Down for major upgrades)
T12 0.80 m APT 18 Exoplanet Search
T13 2.03 m AST 17 Binary/Multiple Stars, Interferometric Targets, Exoplanet Search
C14 0.36 m AIT 9 Exoplanet Search


Hummel, C. A., Monnier, J. D., Roettenbacher, R. M., Torres, G., Henry, G. W., Korhonen, H., Beasley, A., Schaefer, G. H., Turner, N. H., ten Brummelaar, T., Farrington, C. D., Sturmann, J., Sturmann, L., Baron, F., and Kraus, S., "Orbital Elements and Stellar Parameters of the Active Binary UX Ari," Astrophysical Journal, 844, 115, 2017. (talk) (paper)

Evans, T. M., Sing, D. K., ... Henry, G. W., et al., "An Ultrahot Gas-Giant Exoplanet with a Stratosphere," Nature, 548, 58, 2017. (paper)

Fekel, F. C., Henry, G. W., and Tomkin, J., "New Precision Orbits of Bright Double-lined Spectroscopic Binaries. X. HD 96511, HR 7578, and KZ Andromedae," Astronomical Journal, 154, 120, 2017. (paper)

Torres, G., Lacy, C. H. S., Fekel, F. C., Wolf, M., and Muterspaugh, M. W., "The Quadruple-lined, Doubly Eclipsing System V482 Persei," Astronomical Journal, 846, 115, 2017. (paper)

Roettenbacher, R. M., Monnier, J. D., Korhonen, H., Harmon, R. O., Baron, F., Hackman, T., Henry, G. W., Schaefer, G. H., Strassmeier, K. G., Weber, M., and ten Brummelaar, T. A., "Contemporaneous Imaging Comparisons of the Spotted Giant sigma Geminorum Using Interferometric, Spectroscopic, and Photometric Data," Astrophysical Journal, 849, 120, 2017. (paper)

Dai, F., Winn, J. N., Gandolfi, D., ... Henry, G. W., ... Williamson, M. H., and Wittenmyer, R. A., "The Discovery and Mass Measurement of a New Ultra-short-period Planet: K2-131b," Astronomical Journal, 154, 226, 2017. (image) (paper)

Ge, J., Ma, B., Jeram, S., Sithajan, S., Singer, M., Muterspaugh, M. W., et al., "The Dharma Planet Survey of Low-mass and Habitable Rocky Planets around Nearby Solar-type Stars," American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts, 229, #403.01, 2017. (abstract)

Boyajian, T., Croft, S., Wright, J., Siemion, A., Muterspaugh, M., Siegel, M., Gary, B., Wright, S., Maire, J., Duenas, A., Hultgren, C., and Ramos, J., "A Drop in Optical Flux from Boyajian's Star," The Astronomer's Telegram, No. 10405, 2017. (telegram)

Mikulasek, Z., Krticka, J., Janik, J., Henry, G. W., Zejda, M., Shultz, M., Pauzen, E., and Jagelka, M., "On the Nature of Rotation Period Variability of Magnetic Stars," in Proceedings of the International Conference on Stars: from Collapse to Collapse, ASP Conf. Ser. 510, eds. Yu. Yu. Balega, D. O. Kudryavtsev, I. I. Romanyuk, and I. A. Yakunin (San Francisco: ASP), p. 220, 2017. (paper)

Egeland, R., Soon, W., Baliunas, S., Hall, J. C., and Henry, G. W., "Evolution of Long Term Variability in Solar Analogs," in Proceedings of I.A.U. Symposium No. 328, eds. D. Nandi, A. Valio, and P. Petit, p. 329, 2017. (paper)

Mikulasek, Z., Krticka, J., Paunzen, E., Svanda, M., Hummerich, S., Bernhard, K., Jagelka, M., Janik, J., Henry, G. W., and Shultz, M. E., "Differential Rotation in Magnetic Chemically Peculiar Stars," Contrib. Astron. Obs. Skalnate Pleso, 48, p. 203, 2018. (paper)

Nikolov, N., Sing, D. K., Goyal, J., Henry, G. W., ... Williamson, M. H., "Hubble PanCET: An Isothermal Day-Side Atmosphere for the Bloated Gas-Giant HAT-P-32Ab," Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 474, 1705, 2018. (paper)

Boyajian, T.S., Alonso, R., Ammerman, A., Armstrong, D., Ramos, A.A., Barkaoui, K., Beatty, T.G., Benkhaldoun, Z., Benni, P., Bentley, R.O., Berdyugin, A., Berdyugina, S., Bergeron, S., Bieryla, A., Blain, M.G., Blanco11, A.C., Bodman, E.H.L, Boucher, A., Bradley, M., Brincat, S.M., Brink, T.G., Briol, J., Brown, D.J.A., Budaj, J., Burdanov, A., Cale, B., Carbo, M.A., García, R.C., Clark, W.J., Clayton, G.C., Clem, J. L., Coker, P.H., Cook, E.M., Copperwheat, C.M., Curtis, J.L., Cutri, R.M., Cseh, B., Cynamon, C.H., Daniels, A.J., Davenport, J.R.A., Deeg, H.J., De Lorenzo, R., de Jaeger, T., Desrosiers, J.B., Dolan, J., Dowhos, D.J., Dubois, F., Durkee, R., Dvorak, S., Easley, L., Edwards, N., Ellis, T.G., Erdelyi, E., Ertel, S., Farfan, R.J., Farihi, J., Filippenko, A.V., Foxell, E., Gandolfi, D., Garcia, F., Giddens, F., Gillon, M., Gonzalez-Carballo, J.L., Gonzalez-Fernandez, C., Gonzalez Hernandez, J.I., Graham, K.A., Greene, K.A., Gregorio, J., Hallakoun, N., Hanyecz, O., Harp, G.R., Henry, G.W., Herrero, E., Hildbold, C.F., Hinzel, D., Holgado, G., Ignacz, B., Ilyin, I., Ivanov, V.D., Jehin, E., Jermak, H.E., Johnston, S., Kafka, S., Kalup, C., Kardasis, E., Kaspi, S., Kennedy, G.M., Kiefer, F., Kielty, C.L., Kessler, D., Kiiskinen, H., Killestein, T.L., King, R. A., Kollar, V., Korhonen, H., Kotnik, C., Konyves-Toth, R., Kriskovics, L., Krumm, N., Krushinsky, V., Kundra, E., Lachapelle, F.-R., LaCourse, D., Lake, P., Lam, K., Lamb, G.P., Lane, D., Lau, M.W., Lewin, P., Lintott, C., Lisse, C., Logie, L., Longeard, N., Villanueva, M. L., Ludington, E.W., Mainzer, A., Malo, L., Maloney, C., Mann, A., Mantero, A., Marengo, M., Marchant, J., Gonzalez, M.J.M., Masiero, J.R., Mauerhan, J.C., McCormac, J., McNeely, A., Meng, H.Y.A., Miller, M., Molnar, L.A., Morales, J.C., Morris, B.M., Muterspaugh, M.W., Nespral, D., Nugent, C.R., Nugent, K.M., Odasso, A., O’Keeffe, D., Oksanen, A., O’Meara, J.M., Ordasi, A., Osborn, H., Ott, J.J., Parks, J.R., Perez, D.R., Petriew, V., Pickard, R., Pal, A., Plavchan, P., Pollacco, D., Nunez, F.P., Pozuelos, F.J., Rau, S., Redfield, S., Relles, H., Ribas, I., Richards, J., Saario, J.L.O., Safron, E.J., Sallai, J.M., Sarneczky, K., Schaefer, B.E., Schumer, C.F., Schwartzendruber, M., Siegel, M.H., Siemion, A.P.V., Simmons, B.D., Simon, J.D., Simon-Diaz, S., Sitko, M.L., Socas-Navarro, H., Sodor, A., Starkey, D., Steele, I. A., Stone, G., Strassmeier, K.G., Street, R.A., Sullivan, T., Suomela, J., Swift, J.J., Szabo, G.M., Szabo, R., Szakats, R., Szalai, T., Tanner, A.M., Toledo-Padron, B., Tordai, T., Triaud, A.H.M.J. Turner, J.D., Ulowetz, J.H., Urbanik, M., Vanaverbeke, S., Vanderburg, A., Vida, K., Vietje, B.P., Vinko, J., von Braun, K., Waagen, E.O., Walsh, D., Watson, C.A., Weir, R.C., Wenzel, K., Plaza, C.W., Williamson, M.W., Wright, J.T., Wyatt, M.C., Zheng, W., and Zsidi, G., "The First Post-Kepler Brightness Dips of KIC 8462852," Astrophysical Journal Letters, 853, L8, 2018. (paper)

Bourrier, V., Lovis, C., Beust, H., Ehrenreich, D., Henry, G. W., Astudillo-Defru, N., Allart, R., Bonfils, X., Segransan, D., Delfosse, X., Cegla, H. M., Wyttenbach, A., Heng, K., Lavie, B., and Pepe, F., "Orbital Misalignment of the Neptune-Mass Exoplanet GJ 436b with the Spin of its Cool Star," Nature, 553, 477, 2018. (paper)

Lothringer, J. D., Benneke, B., Crossfield, I. J. M., Henry, G. W., Morley, C., Dragomir, D., Barman, T., Knutson, H., Kempton, E., Fortney, J., McCullough, P., and Howard, A. W., "An HST/STIS Optical Transmission Spectrum of Warm Neptune GJ 436b," Astronomical Journal, 155, 66, 2018. (paper)

Gardner, T., Monnier, J. D., Fekel, F. C., Williamson, M. H., Duncan, D. K., White, T. R., Ireland, M., Adams, F. C., Barman, T., Baron, F., ten Brummelaar, T., Che, X., Huber, D., Kraus, S., Roettenbacher, R. M., Schaefer, G., Sturmann, J., Sturmann, L., Swihart, S. J., and Zhao, M., "Precision Orbit of delta Delphini and Prospects for Astrometric Detection of Exoplanets," Astrophysical Journal, 855, 1, 2018. (paper)

Radick, R. R., Lockwood, G. W., Henry, G. W., Hall, J. C., and Pevtsov, A. A., "Patterns of Variation for the Sun and Sun-like Stars," Astrophysical Journal, 855, 75, 2018. (paper)

Spake, J. J., Sing, D. K., Evans, T. M., Oklopcic, A., Kreidberg, L., Rackham, B. V., Irwin, J., Ehrenreich, D., Wyttenbach, A., Wakeford, H. R., Zhou, Y., Chubb, K. L., Nikolov, N., Goyal, J. M., Henry, G. W., Williamson, M. H., Blumenthal, S., Anderson, D. R., Hellier, C., Charbonneau, D., Udry, S., and Madhusudhan, N., "Helium in the Eroding Atmosphere of an Exoplanet," Nature, 557, 68, 2018. (paper) (press release)

Kreidberg, L., Line, M. R., Parmentier, V., Stevenson, K. B., Louden, T., Bonnefoy, M., Faherty, J. K., Henry, G. W., Williamson, M. H., Stassun, K., Beatty, T. G., Bean, J. L., Fortney, J. J., Showman, A. P., Desert, J.-M., and Arcangeli, J. "Global Climate and Atmospheric Composition of the Ultra-Hot Jupiter WASP-103b from HST and Spitzer Phase Curve Observations," Astronomical Journal, 156, 17, 2018. (paper)

Mikulasek, Z., Krticka, J., Paunzen, E., Svanda, M., Hummerich, S., Bernhard, K., Jagelka, M., Janik, J., Henry, G. W., and Shultz, M. E., "Differential Rotation in Magnetic Chemically Peculiar Stars," Contrib. Astron. Obs. Skalnate Pleso, 48, p. 203, 2018. (paper)