In the news this month.... breaking news
The location of the star epsilon Aurigae CREDIT: Stellarium / Megan
In breaking news it has been reported that the long-awaited eclipse of the star ε Aurigae has begun (S&T). Most eclipsing variables are caused by two stars in orbit, periodically blocking each other's light, but in the case of epsilon Aurigae the eclipsing object is thought to be a long thick disk of gas, possibly containing stars hidden in the dense material. Spectroscopic observations by Robin Leadbeater, an amateur astronomer in the UK, have shown changes in the spectrum which could be due to the leading edge of the eclipsing cloud as it crosses in front of the star. If this is the case, then as the eclipse progresses, the star will begin to fade as thicker parts of the cloud move across our line of sight. Eclipses in this system occur every 27.1 years, and the star is predicted to fade from its normal magnitude of 3.0 down to 3.8 by the end of the year. Amateur astronomers interested in variable stars are encouraged to make their own observations and send their results to the AAVSO.