COE Observatory Report


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

This report covers the interval July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019.

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. In addition, Burks and Muterspaugh held faculty appointments in the TSU Department of Physics and Mathematics. Muterspaugh left in June to accept the position of Dean of Science, Technology, and Mathematics at Columbia State Community College. Fekel has retired but continues as an emeritus research associate.


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 an isolated, dark-sky site. 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). T10, T11, and T12 have been down most of this past year for needed upgrades.

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 32 Chromospherically Active Stars, Pulsating Stars, Exoplanet Search, Solar-Type Stars
T4 0.75 m APT 27 Solar-Type Stars
T8 0.80 m APT 24 Solar-Type Stars
T10 0.80 m APT 18 Solar-Type Stars, Exoplanet Search (Down for upgrades)
T11 0.80 m APT 17 Solar-Type Stars, Exoplanet Search (Down for upgrades)
T12 0.80 m APT 18 Exoplanet Search (Down for upgrades)
T13 2.03 m AST 18 Binary/Multiple Stars, Interferometric Targets, Exoplanet Search
C14 0.36 m AIT 10 Exoplanet Search


Krtička, J., Mikulášek, Z., Henry, G. W., Janík, J., Kochukhov, O., Pigulski, A., Leto, L., Trigilio, C., Krtičková, I., Lüftinger, T., Prvák, M., and Tichý, A., "HST/STIS Analysis of the First Main Sequence Pulsar CU Virginis," Astronomy and Astrophysics, 625, A34, 2019. (paper)

Díaz, R. F., Delfosse, X., Hobson, M. J., Boisse, I., Astudillo-Defru, N., Bonfils, X., Henry, G. W., Arnold, L., Bouchy, F., Bourrier, V., Brugger, B., Dalal, S., Deleuil, M., Demangeon, O., Dolon, F., Dumusque, X., Forveille, T., Hara, N., Hébrard, G., Kiefer, F., Lopez, T., Mignon, L., Moreau, F., Mousis, O., Moutou, C., Pepe, F., Perruchot, S., Richaud, Y., Santerne, A., Santos, N. C., Sottile, R., Stalport, M., Ségransan, D., Udry, S., Unger, N., and Wilson, P. A., "The SOPHIE Search for Northern Extrasolar Planets XIV. A Temperate (Teq ~ 300 K) Super-Earth Around the Nearby Star Gliese 411," Astronomy and Astrophysics, 625, A17, 2019. (paper)

Torres, G., Lacy, C. H. S., Fekel, F. C., and Muterspaugh, M. W., "Absolute Dimensions of the Early F-type Eclipsing Binary V506 Ophiuchi," Astrophysical Journal, 876, 41, 2019. (paper)

Willamo, T., Hackman, T., Lehtinen, J. J., Kapyla, M. J., Ilyin, I., Henry, G. W., Jetsu, L., Kochukhov, O., and Piskunov, N., "Long-Term Spot Monitoring of the Young Solar Analogue V889 Herculis," Astronomy and Astrophysics, 622, A170, 2019. (paper)

Kosiarek, M. R., Crossfield, I. J. M., Hardegree-Ullman, K. K., Livingston, J. H., Benneke, B., Henry, G. W., et al., "Bright Opportunities for Atmospheric Characterization of Small Planets: Masses and Radii of K2-3 b, c, and d and GJ 3470 b from Radial Velocity Measurements and Spitzer Transits," Astronomical Journal, 157, 97, 2019. (paper)

Hinkle, K. H., Fekel, F. C., Joyce, R. R., Mikolajewska, J., Galan, C., and Lebzelter, T., "Infrared Spectroscopy of Symbiotic Stars. XII. The Neutron Star SyXB System 4U 1700+24 = V934 Herculis," Astrophysical Journal, 872, 43, 2019. (paper)

Soon, W., Velasco Herrera, V. M., Cionco, R. G., Qiu, S., Baliunas, S., Egeland, R., Henry, G. W., and Charvatova, I., "Covariations of Chromospheric and Photometric Variability of the Young Sun Analogue HD 30495: Evidence for and Interpretation of Mid-Term Periodicities," Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 483, 2748, 2019. (paper)

Hollingworth, E., Sowell, J. R., Fekel, F. C., and Henry, G. W., "The Eclipsing Binary KR Per," American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts, 233, #348.23, 2019. (abstract)

Evans, T., Sing, D. K., Goyal, J., Nikolov, N., Marley, M., Zahnle, K., Henry, G. W., et al., "An Optical Transmission Spectrum for the Ultra-Hot Jupiter WASP-121b Measured with the Hubble Space Telescope," American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts, 233, #205.03, 2019. (abstract)

Alam, M. K., Nikolov, N., Lopez-Morales, M., Sing, D. K., Goyal, J. M., Henry, G. W., Sanz-Forcada, J., Williamson, M. H., Evans, T. M., Wakeford, H. R., Bruno, G., Ballester, G. E., Stevenson, K. B., Lewis, N. K., Barstow, J. K., Bourrier, V., Buchhave, L. A., Ehrenreich, D., and Munoz, A. G., "The HST PanCET Program: Hints of Na I and Evidence of a Cloudy Atmosphere for the Inflated Hot Jupiter WASP-52b," Astronomical Journal, 156, 298, 2018. (paper)

Bourrier, V., Lecavelier des Etangs, A., Ehrenreich, D., Sanz-Forcada, J., Allart, R., Ballester, G. E., Buchhave, L. A., Cohen, O., Deming, D., Evans, T., Garcia Munoz, A., Henry, G. W., Kataria, T., Lavvas, P., Lewis, N., Lopez-Morales, M., Marley, M., Sing, D. K., and Wakeford, H. R., "Hubble PanCET: An Extended Upper Atmosphere of Neutral Hydrogen Around the Warm Neptune GJ 3470b," Astronomy and Astrophysics, 620, A147, 2018. (paper)

Evans, T.M., Sing, D.K., Goyal, J.M., Nikolov, N., Marley, M.S., Zahnle, K., Henry, G.W., Barstow, J.K., Alam, M.K., Sanz-Forcada, J., Kataria, T., Lewis, N.K., Lavvas, P., Ballester, G.E., Ben-Jaffe, L., Blumenthal, S.D., Bourrier, V., Drummond, B., Muñoz, A.D., López-Morales, M., Tremblin, P., Ehrenreich, D., Wakeford, H.R., Buchhave, L.A., Lecavelier des Etangs, A., Hébrard, E., and Williamson, M.H., "An Optical Transmission Spectrum for the Ultra-hot Jupiter WASP-121b Measured with the Hubble Space Telescope," Astronomical Journal, 156, 283, 2018. (paper)

Mansfield, M., Bean, J. L., Oklopcic, A., Kreidberg, L., Desert, J.-M., Kempton, E. M.-R., Line, M. R., Fortney, J. J., Henry, G. W., Mallonn, M., Stevenson, K. B., Dragomir, D., Allart, R., and Bourrier, V., "Detection of Helium in the Atmosphere of the Exo-Neptune HAT-P-11b," Astrophysical Journal Letters, 868, L34, 2018. (paper)

Bourrier, V., Dumusque, X., Dorn, C., Henry, G. W., Astudillo-Defru, N., Rey, J., Benneke, B., Hebrand, G., Lovis, C., Demory, B. O., Moutou, C., and Ehrenreich, D., "The 55 Cancri System Reassessed," Astronomy and Astrophysics, 619, A1, 2018. (paper)

van Belle, G. T., Armstrong, J. T., Benson, J. A., Baines, E. K., Bevilacqua, R. G., Buschmann, T., Clark, J. H., DeGroff, W. T., Hall, J. C., Hindsley, R. L., Jorgensen, A. M., Lindgren, A., Mozurkewich, D., Muterspaugh, M., Pooler, S. T., Restaino, S. R., Schmitt, H. R., Shankland, P., and Zavala, R. T., "Many Interesting Things are Afoot at the Navy Precision Optical Interferometer," in Optical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging VI, SPIE 10701, eds. M. J. Creech-Eakman, P. G. Tuthill, and A. Merand (SPIE: Bellingham, WA), 1070105, 2018. (paper)

Farrington, C. D., Fekel, F. C., Schaefer, G. H., and ten Brummelaar, T. A., "Separated Fringe Packet Observations with the CHARA Array. III. The Very High-eccentricity Binary HR 7345," Astronomical Journal, 156, 144, 2018. (paper)

Fekel, F. C., Willmarth, D. W., Abt, H. A., and Pourbaix, D., "Spectroscopic Orbits for Late-type Stars. II," Astronomical Journal, 156, 117, 2018. (paper)

Ma, B., Ge, J., Muterspaugh, M., Singer, M. A., Henry, G. W., Gonzalez Hernandez, J. I., Sithajan, S., Jeram, S., Williamson, M., Stassun, K., Kimock, K., Varosi, F., Schofield, S., Liu, J., Powell, P., Cassette, A., Jakeman, H., Avner, L., Grieves, N., Barnes, R., Zhao, B., Gilda, S., Grantham, J., Stafford, G., Savage, D., Bland, S., and Ealey, B., "The First Super-Earth Detection from the High Cadence and High Radial Velocity Precision Dharma Planet Survey," Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 480, 2411, 2018. (paper) (Press Release) (Channel 4 Interview)

Hinkle, K., Fekel, F., Joyce, R., Mikolajewska, J., and Cezary, G., "Infrared Spectroscopy of the Late-Type Star in the Neutron Star X-ray Symbiotic System 4U 1700+24 = V934 Herculis," American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts, 231, #453.14, 2018. (abstract)