COE Observatory Report


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

This report covers the interval July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.

The TSU Automated Astronomy Group within the TSU Center of Excellence in Information Systems concentrates on stellar astrophysics using photometric, spectroscopic, and imaging 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, and Michael H. Williamson. Burks also held a faculty appointment in the TSU Department of Physics and Mathematics. Fekel 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 observing 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 awaiting 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 33 Chromospherically Active Stars, Pulsating Stars, Exoplanet Search, Solar-Type Stars
T4 0.75 m APT 28 Solar-Type Stars, Exoplanet Search/td>
T8 0.80 m APT 25 Solar-Type Stars, Exoplanet Search
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 Solar-Type Stars, Exoplanet Search (Down for upgrades)
T13 2.03 m AST 19 Binary/Multiple Stars, Interferometric Targets, Exoplanet Search, etc. (See (Eaton 2020) for 2003-2009 radial velocity measurements)
C14 0.36 m AIT 11 Exoplanet Search


Alam, M. K., Lopez-Morales, M., Nikolov, N., Sing, D. K., Henry, G. W., Baxter, C., Desert, J.-M., Barstow, J. K., Mikal-Evans, T., Bourrier, V., Lavvas, P., Wakeford, H. R., Williamson, M. H., Sanz-Forcada, J., Buchhave, L. A., Cohen, O., and Munoz, A. G., "The Hubble Space Telescope PanCET Program: An Optical to Infrared Transmission Spectrum of HAT-P-32Ab," Astronomical Journal, 160, 51, 2020. (paper)

Sowell, J. R., Hollingworth, E., Fekel, F. C., Muterspaugh, M. W., Dale, H., Savello, A. D., Coughlin, J. L., and Williamon, R. M., "KR Per, a Mid-F Eclipsing Binary with a One-day Period," Astronomical Journal, 160, 13, 2020. (paper)

Torres, G., Lacy, C. H. S., Fekel, F. C., and Muterspaugh, M. W., "Absolute Dimensions of the Unevolved F-Type Eclipsing Binary BT Vulpeculae," Astrophysical Journal, 894, 96, 2020. (paper)

Carter, A. L., Nikolov, N., Sing, D. K., Alam, M. K., Goyal, J. M., Mikal-Evans, T., Wakeford, H. R., Henry, G. W., Morrell, S., Lopez-Morales, M., Smalley, B., Lavvas, P., Barstow, J. K., Munoz, A. G., Gibson, N. P., and Wilson, P. A., "Detection of Na, K, and H2O in the Hazy Atmosphere of WASP-6b," Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 494, 5449, 2020. (paper)

Horch, E. P., van Belle, G. T., Davidson, J. W., Willmarth, D., Fekel, F. C., Muterspaugh, M., Casetti-Dinescu, D. I., Hahne, F. W., Granucci, N. M., Clark, C., Winters, J. G., Rupert, J. D., Weiss, S. A., Colton, N. M., Nusdeo, D. A., and Henry, T. J., "Observations of Binary Stars with the Differential Speckle Survey Instrument. IX. Observations of Known and Suspected Binaries, and a Partial Survey of Be Stars," Astronomical Journal, 159, 233, 2020. (paper)

Guo, X., Crossfield, I. J. M., Dragomir, D., Kosiarek, M. R., Lothringer, J., Mikal-Evans, T., Rosenthal, L., Benneke, B., Knutson, H. A., Dalba, P. A., Kempton, E. M. R., Henry, G. W., McCullough, P. R., Barman, T., Blunt, S., Chontos, A., Fortney, J., Fulton, B. J., Hirsch, L., Howard, A., Isaacson, H., Matthews, J., Mocnik, T., Morley, C., Petigura, E., and Weiss, L. M., "Updated Parameters and a New Transmission Spectrum of HD 97658b," Astronomical Journal, 159, 239, 2020. (paper)

Wong, I., Benneke, B., Gao, P., Knutson, H.A., Chachan, Y., Henry, G.W., Deming, D., Kataria, T., Lee, G.K.H., Nikolov, N., Sing, D.K., Ballester, G.E., Baskin, N.J., Wakeford, H.R., and Williamson, M.H., "Optical to Near-Infrared Transmission Spectrum of the Warm Sub-Saturn HAT-P-12b," Astronomical Journal, 159, 234, 2020. (paper)

Hara, N. C., Bouchy, F., Stalport, M., Boisse, I., Rodrigues, J., Delisle, J.-B., Santerne, A., Henry, G. W., et al., "The SOPHIE Search for Northern Extrasolar Planets XVI. HD 158259: A Compact Planetary System in a Near-3:2 Mean Motion Resonance Chain," Astronomy and Astrophysics, 636, L6, 2020. (paper) (Press Release)

Hill, M.L., Močnik, T., Kane, S.R., Henry, G.W., Pepper, J., Hinkel, N.R., Dalba, P.A., Fulton, B.J., Stassun, K.G., Rosenthal, L.J., Howard, A. W., Howell, S.B., Everett, M.E., Boyajian, T.S., Fischer, D.A., Rodriguez, J.E., Beatty, T.E., and James, D.J., "Orbital Refinement and Stellar Properties for the HD 9446, HD 43691, and HD 179079 Planetary Systems," Astronomical Journal, 159, 197, 2020. (paper)

Judge, P. G., Egeland, R., and Henry, G. W., "Sun-Like Stars Shed Light on Solar Climate Forcing," Astrophysical Journal, 891, 96, 2020. (paper) (Press Release)

Suffak, M. W., Jones, C. E., Tycner, C., Henry, G. W., Carciofi, A. C., Mota, B. C., and Rubio, A. C., "The Large-Scale Behavior in the Disk of delta Scorpii from 2000 to 2018," Astrophysical Journal, 890, 86, 2020. (paper)

Kilpatrick, B. M., Kataria, T., Lewis, N. K., Zellem, R. T., Henry, G. W., Cowan, N. B., de Wit, J., Fortney, J. J., Knutson, H., Seager, S., Showman, A. P., and Tucker, G. S., "Evaluating Climate Variability of the Canonical Hot-Jupiters HD 189733b and HD 209458b Through Multi-Epoch Eclipse Observations," Astronomical Journal, 159, 51, 2020. (paper)

Bruno, G., Lewis, N. K., Alam, M. K., López-Morales, M., Barstow, J. K., Wakeford, H. R., Sing, D., Henry, G. W., Ballester, G. E., Bourrier, V., Buchhave, L. A., Cohen, O., Mikel-Evans, T., García Muñoz, A., Lavvas, P., and Sanz-Forcada, J., "WASP-52b. The Effect of Star-Spot Correction on Atmospheric Retrievals," Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 491, 5361, 2020. (paper)

Sotzen, K. S., Stevenson, K. B., Sing, D. K., Kilpatrick, B. M., Wakeford, H. R., Filippazzo, J. C., Lewis, N. K., Hörst, S. M., López-Morales, M., Henry, G. W., Buchhave, L. A., Ehrenreich, D., Fraine, J. D., Garcı́a Muñoz, A., Jayaraman, R., Lavvas, P., Lecavelier des Etangs, A., Marley, M. S., Nikolov, N., Rathcke, A. D., and Sanz-Forcada, J., "Transmission Spectroscopy of WASP-79b from 0.6 to 5.0 um," Astronomical Journal, 159, 5, 2020. (paper)

Sotzen, K., Stevenson, K., Sing, D., Kilpatrick, B., Wakeford, H., Filippazzo, J., Lewis, N., Horst, S., Lopez-Morales, M., Henry, G. W., Buchhave, L., Ehrenreich, D., Fraine, J., Garcia Munoz, A., Jayaraman, R., Lavvas, P., Lecavelier des Etangs, A., Marley, M., Nikolov, N., Rathcke, A., and Sanz-Forcada, J., "Transmission Spectroscopy of WASP-79b from 0.6 to 5.0 microns," Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 52, No. 1, 426.02, 2020. (abstract)

Chachan, Y., Knutson, H. A., Gao, P., Kataria, T., Wong, I., Henry, G. W., Benneke, B., Zhang, M., Barstor, J., Bean, J. L., Evans, T. M., Lewis, N. K., Mansfield, M., Lopez-Morales, M., Nikolov, N., Sing, D. K., and Wakeford, H., "A Hubble PanCET Study of HAT-P-11b: A Cloudy Neptune with a Low Atmospheric Metallicity," Astronomical Journal, 158, 244, 2019. (paper)

Kiefer, F., Hébrard, G., Sahlmann, J., Sousa, S. G., Forveille, T., Santos, N., Mayor, M., Deleuil, M., Wilson, P. A., Dalal, S., Díaz, R. F., Henry, G. W., Hagelberg, J., Hobson, M. J., Demangeon, O., Bourrier, V., Delfosse, X., Arnold, L., Astudillo-Defru, N., Beuzit, J.-L., Boisse, I., Bonfils, X., Borgniet, S., Bouchy, F., Courcol, B., Ehrenreich, D., Hara, N., Lagrange, A.-M., Lovis. C., Montagnier, G., Moutou, C., Pepe, F., Perrier, C., Rey, J., Santerne, A., Ségransan, D., Udry, S., and Vidal-Madjar, A., "Detection and Characterization of 54 Massive Companions with the SOPHIE Spectrograph," Astronomy and Astrophysics, 631, A125, 2019. (paper)

Blunt, S., Endl, M., Weiss, L. M., Cochran, W. D., Howard, A. W., MacQueen, P. J., Fulton, B. J., Henry, G. W., Johnson, M. C., Kosiarek, M. R., Lawson, K. D., Macintosh, B., Mills, S. M., Nielsen, E. L., Petigura, E. A., Schneider, G., Vanderburg, A., Wisniewski, J. P., Wittenmyer,, R. A., Brugamyer, E., Caldwell, C., Cochran, A. L., Hatzes, A. P., Hirsch, L. A., Isaacson, H., Robertson, P., Roy, A., and Shen, Z., "Radial Velocity Discovery of an Eccentric Jovian World Orbiting at 18 AU," Astronomical Journal, 158, 181, 2019. (paper)

van Genderen, A. M., Lobel, A., Nieuwenhuijzen, H., Henry, G. W., de Jager, C., Blown, E., Di Scala, G., and van Ballegoij, E. J., "Pulsations, Eruptions, and Evolution of Four Yellow Hypergiants," Astronomy and Astrophysics, 631, A48, 2019. (paper)

Fekel, F. C., Henry, G. W., and Sowell, J. R., "HD 126516: A Triple System Containing a Short-Period Eclipsing Binary," Astronomical Journal, 158, 189, 2019. (paper)

dos Santos, L. A., Ehrenreich, D., Bourrier, V., Lecavelier des Dtangs, A., Lopez-Morales, M., Sing, D. K., Ballester, G., Ben-Jaffel, L., Buchhave, L. A., Garcia Munoz, A., Henry, G. W., Kataria, T., Lavie, B., Lavvas, P., Lewis, N. K., Mikal-Evans, T., Sanz-Forcada, J., and Wakeford, H., "The Hubble PanCET Program: An Extensive Search for Metallic Ions in the Exosphere of GJ 436 b," Astronomy and Astrophysics, 629, A47, 2019. (paper)

Genet, R., Arenberg, J., Banich, H., Bartels, M., Berry, R., Boyce, P., Chamberlin, R., Emerson, R., Estrada, C., Estrada, R., Freed, R., Genet, C., Gomez, E., Gray, D., Haberman, J., Harshaw, R., Henry, G., Johnson, A., Johnson, J., Hedrick, R., Jones, G., Kenney, J., Knapp, M., Levit, C., Lui, T., Rowe, D., Ridgely, J., Shih, J., Smith, T., Tock, K., Van Steenwyk, C., and Wallen, V., "CubeSat Astronomical Telescopes and Research in the 2020s," Astro2020: Decadal Survey on Astronomy and Astrophysics, BAAS, Vol. 51, No. 7, 51, 2019. (paper)

Mikal-Evans, T., Sing, D. K., Goyal, J. M., Drummond, B., Carter, A. L., Henry, G. W., Wakeford, H. R., Lewis, N. K., Marley, M. S., Tremblin, P., Nikolov, N., Kataria, T., Deming, D., and Ballester, G. E., "An Emission Spectrum for WASP-121b Measured Across the 0.8–1.1 μm Wavelength Range Using the Hubble Space Telescope," Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 488, 2222, 2019. (paper)

Sing, D. K., Lavvas, P., Ballester, G. E., Lecavelier des Etangs, A., Marley, M. S., Nikolov, N., Ben-Jaffel, L., Bourrier, V., Buchhave, L.A., Deming, D. L., Ehrenreich, D., Mikal-Evans, T., Kataria, T., Lewis, N. K., López-Morales, M., Muñoz, A. G., Henry, G. W., Sanz-Forcada, J., Spake, J. J., and Wakeford, H. R. (The PanCET collaboration), "The Hubble Space Telescope PanCET Program: Exospheric Mg II and Fe II in the Near-ultraviolet Transmission Spectrum of WASP-121b Using Jitter Decorrelation," Astronomical Journal, 158, 91, 2019. (paper)

Lewis, N., Wakeford, H., Mishra, I., Sing, D., Batalha, N., Marley, M., Pirzkal, N., Evans, T., Goyal, J., Henry, G., Kataria, T., Nikolov, N., Spake, J., and Stevenson, K., "Unlocking the Hidden Secrets of Hot Jupiter Atmospheres through Near-Ultraviolet Spectroscopy: A Case Study of HAT-P-41b," American Astronomical Society, Extreme Solar Systems IV, BAAS, Vol. 51, No. 6, 173, 2019. (abstract)

Blunt, S., Endl, M., Weiss, L. M., Cochran, W. D., Howard, A. W., MacQueen, P. J., Fulton, B. J., Henry, G. W., et al., "Radial Velocity Discovery of an Eccentric Jovian World Orbiting at 18 AU," American Astronomical Society, Extreme Solar Systems IV, BAAS, Vol. 51, No. 6, 7, 2019. (abstract)