2012 – Lubomir 16 – 22 July


The astrocamp was organized by the Vihorlat Observatory in cooperation with Gmina Wisniowa at the Lubomir Observatory, located in this gmina, from 16 to 22 July 2012. The event followed the traditional summer meetings of variable star observers, which have been organized for many years by the Vihorlat Observatory under the name Variable. In the past two years, the meeting took the form of an astrocamp, when it took place as one of the activities of the Carpathian Sky project, first at the observatory in Roztoky and then at the Astronomical Observatory at Kolonica Saddle. This year, the astrocamp was in a different place – in the newly built observatory on Mount Lubomir.

Due to the fact that at the time of the astrocamp the tourist hostel under the Lubomir mountain was not yet operational, the capacity of the astrocamp was limited by the capacity of the observatory itself. The organizing team consisted of RNDr. Igor Kudzej, CSc., as head of astrocamp and of Mgr. Marcin Cikala and Pavol Dubovský. The line-up was completed by Gregorz Sek from the Youth Astronomical Observatory in Niepolomice as head of the solar section. The participants-observers were mostly from Poland. Two from Krosno, two from Niepolomice, one local from the village of Wenglowka and also former project manager of the Carpathian Sky project Robert Bury. In addition to the organizers, Daniel Baluďanský from the observatory in Roztoky and Matúš Kamenec, a teacher from the Primary School in Prešov – came from Slovakia. A total of 12 participants spent a week dedicated exclusively to astronomy. Contact with the rest of the terrestrial civilization consisted only of food imported from the village below the mountain and sporadic visits by tourists.

Atmospheric conditions allowed practical observations to be made only for two nights. Participants were divided into sections to the five telescopes available.

The 17-inch PlaneVawe of the Dall Kirkham system with an FLI camera in the main dome of the observatory is destined for astophotography and was used for it, although the main topic of astrocamp still remains variable stars. Several participants gradually learned the secrets of taking aesthetic photographs under the leadership of Marcin Cikala.

The 20 cm Schmidt Cassegrain on the GoTo mount was used to visually detect the times of minima of the eclipsing binary stars. Electronically guided mount has proven to be of great help for this kind of observation. With one telescope, two observers were able to observe three stars simultaneously and measured three minima. Without GoTo, three different binoculars would have to be used. Thus, the remaining two instruments remained free for visual observations of intrinsic variables.

26 cm Cassegrain and 14-inch Schmidt Cassegrain were mainly used by Matúš Kamenec and Pavol Dubovský. Beginner achieved surprising high quality results. This is undoubtedly due to the use of proper observation techniques and good maps of comparison stars. We can say that the output of this astrocamp is one new high-quality visual observer of variable stars. We believe that he will have enough patience to stay in the trend.

Paradoxically, the only CCD minimum of an eclipsing binary star was obtained by the solar section led by Gregorz Sek. They removed filters from Coronado for the night and measured a minimum of BX And. In addition, during the day they photographed the solar photosphere and chromosphere through the solar telescope, and each evening on the “BoRo” meeting they informed others in word and image of what was new in the Sun.

In the theoretical part of astrocamp, participants recalled the correct procedures for observing variable stars both visually and using CCD technique. All this under the leadership of Pavel Dubovsky. More into the physics of variable stars was discussed by RNDr. Igor Kudzej, CSc., on subtle effects on the light curves of eclipsing binary stars.

Finally, we would like to thank the local organizer Mgr. Marcin Cikal. Without his enthusiasm and dedication, the event could not have been successful in difficult conditions.