Science

Research at Cloudbait is focused in two areas: photometry and meteor analysis.

Algol Light CurvePhotometry is the measurement of stellar brightness, and usually involves the analysis of brightness as a function of time. Although the stars seem to our eyes to be of constant brightness, the fact is that many are not, and display variations over periods ranging from minutes to years. My current photometric projects include the investigation of two M dwarf stars, one a possible eclipsing binary, and the other a possible rapid rotator. In both cases, I am looking for brightness variations of just a few tenths of a magnitude in a class of stars that exhibit random variations on this same order because of large starspots.

All-sky camera imageMy meteor analysis work is based around developing instrumentation to record the paths of large fireballs, the type of objects that are capable of surviving their passage through the atmosphere and producing meteorites on the ground. I am working with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science to put into place a network of all-sky cameras around Colorado, and eventually over a larger area.
On 9 August 2002 I successfully captured an image of the CONTOUR spacecraft as it made its final visible pass over North America before its trajectory was to take it towards a 2003 rendezvous with Comet Encke. Unfortunately, it now appears that the spacecraft has broken up and is dead in space. Details are here.

© Copyright 2002, Chris L Peterson. All rights reserved.