A Community – Centered Astronomy Research Program
Authors: Pat Boyce – Grady Boyce

Abstract: The Boyce Research Initiatives and Education Foundation (BRIEF) is providing semester-long, hands-on, astronomy research experiences for students of all ages that results in their publishing peer-reviewed papers. The course in astronomy and double star research has evolved from a face-to-face learning experience with two instructors to an online – hybrid course that simultaneously supports classroom instruction at a variety of schools in the San Diego area.

Currently, there are over 65 students enrolled in three community colleges, seven high schools, and one university as well as individual adult learners. Instructional experience, courseware, and supporting systems were developed and refined through experience gained in classroom settings from 2014 through 2016. Topics of instruction include Kepler’s Laws, basic astrometry, properties of light, CCD imaging, use of filters for varying stellar spectral types, and how to perform research, scientific writing, and proposal preparation.

Volunteer instructors were trained by taking the course and producing their own research papers. An expanded program was launched in the fall semester of 2016. Twelve papers from seven schools were produced; eight have been accepted for publication by the Journal of Double Observations (JDSO) and the remainder are in peer review. Three additional papers have been accepted by the JDSO and two more are in process papers. Three college professors and five advanced amateur astronomers are now qualified volunteer instructors.

Supporting tools are provided by a BRIEF server and other online services. The server-based tools range from Microsoft Office and planetarium software to top-notch imaging programs and computational software for data reduction for each student team. Observations are performed by robotic telescopes worldwide supported by BRIEF. With this success, student demand has increased significantly.

Many of the graduates of the first semester course wanted to expand their astronomy knowledge and experience. To answer this demand, BRIEF is developing additional astronomy research courses with partners in advanced astrometry, photometry, and exoplanets. The program provides a significant opportunity for schools, teachers, and advanced amateur astronomers to introduce high school and college students to astronomy, science, and STEM careers.

Astrometric Measurements of WDS 17033+5935
Authors: Christian Blanco – Mark Powers – David Gorial – Alexander Beltzer-Sweeney – Irena Stojimirovic – Ilze Sarma – Theresa Woods – Pat Boyce – and Grady Boyce2
Abstract: We report astrometric results for the essential data belonging to the components of the STF-2128 (WDS 08359 + 0955) double star system using the iTelescope network. When combined with existing historical observational measurements, our data contributes to the confirmation of the system as a true physically-bound binary based on its orbital motion.
CCD Astrometric Measurements of WDS 13513-3928 (HJ 4618)
Authors: Mattie Sanseverino – Nathan Bradshaw – Kathryn Chan – Vasundhara Sengupta – Nima Fariborzi – Grady Boyce – and Pat Boyce
Abstract: Astrometric measurements of WDS 13513-3928 were made using the iTelescope network. The position angle and separation of the two-star system were found to be 51.1 degrees and 28.3 arcseconds.
Analyzing the Proper Motion of Two Double Star Systems from Astrometric Measurements
Authors: Alex Falatoun – Janet Barrera – Anna de Neef – Aura Gonzalez – Jae Calanog – Pat Boyce – and Grady Boyce
Abstract: The iTelescope network was used to obtain astrometric measurements of double star systems WDS 12202-1408 (STF 1631) and WDS 12339+5522 (STI 2286). Through astrometric measurement softwares SAOImage DS9 and Mira Pro x64, a mean position angle for STF 1631 of 304.8° ± 0.9° and a mean separation 14.7″ ± 0.2″ was measured. For STI 2286, a newly measured mean position angle of 85.9° ± 0.9° and mean separation 11.5″ ± 0.3″ were obtained.
The relative proper motion of 1631 shows that the system could be demonstrating a linear path or an approximately circular orbit with a period of ~1400 years. Parallax measurements of the secondary star will aid in classifying if this system is a physical or a visual pair. The proper motion of STI 2286 indicates that it could be a physical pair, featuring an orbit nearing a turning point. Follow-up observations in three to four year intervals will further validate or refute this claim and constrain the shape of a possible orbit.
Astrometric and Photometric Measurements of WDS 20210+1028
Authors: Sebastien Cormier – Jae Calanog – Irena Stojimirovic – Jerry Hilburn – Philip Blanco – and Brodney Fitzgerald
Abstract: We report CCD astrometric and photometric measurements of the components of the double star system WDS20210+1028 (J 838) using the iTelescope network. Combined with historical observations, our measurements suggest that the existing fitted orbital solution may need to be modified.
Astrometric Measurements and Proper Motion Analysis For WDS 11582 +0335 HJ 1204
Authors: Erica Edwards – Jose R. Garcia II – Cheyenne Terronez – Melanie Stuart – Jae Calanog – Pat Boyce – and Grady Boyce
Abstract: We obtained and analyzed CCD images of the double star system WDS 11582 +0335 (HJ 1204) using the iTelescope network and a variety of specialized software. WCS coordinates were attached to each image, and the separation distance (ρ) and mean position angle (θ) were measured at ρ = 7.9″ ± 0.03″ and θ = 59.3º ± 0.2º. These results were compared to historical data, dating back ~200 years and we find that HJ 1204 is currently exhibiting a linearly decreasing ρ and a constant θ. This suggests that HJ 1204 could be a visual double or an edge-on binary. Follow-up spectroscopic observations should resolve the two possibilities.
CCD Study of WDS 15098-0445
Authors: Rachel Banister – Nikki Arman – Kendra Kleber – and Grady Boyce
Abstract: Astrometric measurements of WDS 15098-0445 were obtained using the iTelescope Network. The distance between the A and B components was found to be 26.314″ and the position angle was found to be 35.197°. The distance between the A and C components was found to be 607.927″ and the position angle was found to be 217.868°. The change in the AC pair is consistent with past data, which indicates it is an optical double. The change in the AB pair indicates it is also an optical double.
CCD Measurements of WDS 13510+6819 STTA127
Authors: Faisal AlZaben – Dmitrii Vasilenko – Gunbold Ganbold – Stuart McClanahan – Pat Boyce – and Grady Boyce
Abstract: WDS 13510+6819, a three-star star system, discoverer code STTA 127, is imaged using CCD cameras for astrometric measurements in comparison to historic data contained in the Washington Double Star Catalog. The historical data outlines measurements between he AB and the B-C components and the 2016 measurements support the trend outlined in the WDS
Astrometric Measurement of Double-Star System 03074+1753 HJL 1020
Authors: Greta van den Bergh – Hilde van den Bergh
Abstract: The double star system HJL 1020 was observed using the iTelescope network. The angle and distance between the components were measured and reported. From telescope T3, we measured rho (ρ) of 105.75″ ± 0.92″ Standard Error of the Mean (SEM) and theta (θ) of 359.19° ± 0.4° (SEM). For telescope T18, we measured ρ of 105.28″ ± 0.36″ (SEM) and θ of 359.13° ± 0.21° (SEM). Combined with the historical measurements, our measurements suggest the distance between the A and B stars decreasing from 1896 to 2016. The plot of the data suggests an optical double due to a lack of Keplerian motion after 120 years.
Measurements of Multi-star Systems LEO 5 and MKT 13
Authors: Faisal AlZaben – Allen Priest – Stephen Priest – Rex Qiu – Grady Boyce – and Pat Boyce
Abstract: We report measurements of the position angles and separations of two multistar systems observed during the fall of 2015. Image data was obtained using an online 17-inch iTelescope system in Nerpio, Spain. Image data was analyzed using Maxim DL Pro 6 and Mira Pro x64 software tools at the Army and Navy Academy in Carlsbad, California. Our measurements of the LEO 5 system are consistent with historical data, although inconclusive as to the nature of the system. Our measurements and the historical data for the MKT 13 system show a consistent linearity in the position angle and separation.
CCD Astrometric Measurements of WDS 05247+3723
Authors: Mike Chasin – Matthew Adas – Naylynn Tanon – Grady Boyce – and Pat Boyce
Abstract: Theta (θ) and rho (ρ) astrometric measurements were made of the double star system WDS 05247+3723 pairs AB, AC, and CD. These measurements compared favorably with the historic data from the Washington Double Star Catalog (WDS). We also measured the AD, BC, & BD pair relative astrometry.
CCD Astrometric Measurements of WDS 00023-7238 HJ 5439
Authors: Kelvin Nguyen – Sibi Radhakrishnan – Max Schoenbrunner – Ariane Nazemi – Jae Calanog – Pat Boyce – and Grady Boyce
Abstract: We obtained astrometric measurements of the double star system 00023-7238 (HJ 5439) using the iTelescope network and MaximDL v6 software. We measured a mean position angle of 79.2º ± 0.2º and an average separation distance of 9.53˝ ± 0.04˝; these measurements show a decrease of 0.4 º and 0.23” from the last measurement in epoch 1998.50. Historical and current data show no obvious signs of orbital motion, which suggests that HJ 5439 may be a visual double.
Astrometric Measurement of WDS 03117+8128 STF 327 AB
Authors: Hilde van den Bergh – Chris Olivas – Jerry Hilburn – Pat Boyce – and Grady Boyce
Abstract: We report CCD astrometric measurements of the double star system WDS 03117+8128 STF327AB using the iTelescope network. We found the relative position to be  = 20.26 ± 0.12 arc-sec and  = 289.1 ± 0.39 degrees at epoch 2016.84. When combined with the historical data over the last 114 years the trend suggests the decreasing of the distance between the AB pair.
CCD Astrometry of the AB and AC Components of WDS 00052+4514
Authors: Galileo – Resca – Nathan – Hurdich – Kent Smith – Grady Boyce- Pat Boyce
Abstract: Measurements of position angles and separation of the multiple star system WDS 00052+4514 (containing ES 9001AB and BU 9001AC) obtained from new CCD images are reported. The measurements follow the trends of the historical data that indicate movement of the AB pair and no change in theta and rho for the AC. Analysis of BU 9001AC’s proper motions suggest that it is likely a Common Motion Pair.
CCD Measurements of Common Proper Motion Pair CBL 125
Authors: Schuyler Smith1 , Benjamin Shimabukuro1 , Norman Negus1 , Randy Shimabukuro2 , Kent Smith3 , Pat Boyce4 , and Grady Boyce4
Abstract: Position angle and separation measurements from CCD images are reported for the common proper motion double WDS 05237-3819 CBL 125. Analysis of proper motion and parallax data suggests strongly that the components of CBL 125 are physically bound by gravity or, at the least, have a common origin.
Astrometric Observations and Analysis of the Physical Binary Pair STF 296AB
Authors: Parth Korat1 , Alexander Beltzer-Sweeney2 , William Vazquez1 , Kyle Correia1 ,Jae Calanog1 , Pat Boyce3 , and Grady Boyce3
Abstract: We obtained astrometric measurements of the double star WDS 02442 +4914 (STF 296AB) using the iTelescope Network. By performing CCD astrometry, a position angle of 305.4° ± 0.3° and an angular separation of 21.14″ ± 0.09″ was determined. Based on historical data, the position angle and angular separation have changed from the previous measurement of 304.7° and 20.69″ (2013).
Double Star Systems WDS 00026+1841 SHY 378AB and WDS 00002-2519 COO 273
Authors: Skylar Larsen1,3, Sophie Reich1,3, Ally Serrano1,3, Josh Gailey1,3 , Pat Boyce2 , Grady Boyce2 , and Kent Smith1
Abstract: Position angle (theta) and separation (rho) measurements were obtained for two double stars, WDS 00026+1841 SHY 378AB and WDS 00002-2519 COO 273. SHY 378AB was measured with a theta of 2.67° and rho 549.9″. COO 273 was measured with a theta of 10.38° and a rho of 8.31″.
CCD Astrometric Measurements of WDS 08167+4053 Using the iTelescope Network
Authors: Bill Riley1 , Dewei Li2 , Junyao Li2 , Aren Dennis2 , Grady Boyce3 and Pat Boyce3
Abstract: Separations and position angle astrometric measurements were made of the multiple star system WDS 08167+4053 AB, AC, and BC components. Our measurements compared favorably with historical measurements from the United States Naval Observatory Washington Double Star Catalog, confirming the trend.
CCD Astrometric Measurements and Historical Data Summary of WDS 12182-4251
Authors: Anushree Chaudhuri1 and Grady Boyce
Abstract: Precise astrometric coordinates, separation, and position angle of proposed binary system WDS 12182-4251 (DAM 1244) were determined from CCD (charge-coupled device) imaging analysis. The measurements acquired largely align with previously collected data available through databases such as the Washington Double Star (WDS) Catalog. Additionally, the historical data and other information available on this system have been gathered and examined.
CCD Astrometry with Robotic Telescopes
Authors: Faisal AlZaben1 , Dewei Li1 , Yongyao Li1 , Aren Dennis1 , Michael Fene2 , Grady Boyce3 , and Pat Boyce3
Abstract: CCD images were acquired of three binary star systems: WDS06145+1148, WDS06206+1803, and WDS06224+2640. The astrometric solution, position angle, and separation of each system were calculated with MaximDL v6 and Mira Pro x64 software suites. The results were consistent with historical measurements in the Washington Double Star Catalog. Our analysis found some differences in measurements between single-shot color CCD cameras and traditional monochrome CCDs using a filter wheel.
CCD Astrometric Measurements of WDS 04155+0611
Authors: Zhixin Cao1 , Junyao Li1 , Jeff Li1 , Steve Qu1 , Michael Fene2 , Grady Boyce3 , and Pat Boyce
Abstract: Twenty-two separations and position angle astrometric measurements were made of the multiple star system WDS 04155+0611. This system includes the pairs STTA 45 AB, H 6 98 AC, H 6 98 CD, and STU 18 CE. All measurements were compared with historical measurements from the Washington Double Star Catalog. Our astrometric results compare favorably with other recent observations.
Two Unresolved Double Stars: CHR 139 Aa,Ab and HDS 2003
Authors: Zhixin Cao1 and Grady Boyce2
Abstract: t CHR 139 Aa,Ab (WDS 17146+1423) has had only three previous measurements (1986, 1989, and 1991) and many “no result” attempts over the past 30 years. We were not able to resolve this pair with speckle interferometry observations on a 2.1-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. HDS 2003 (WDS 14157+1911) was reported as a double from Hipparcos data. We attempted to confirm this double with the same 2.1-meter telescope as a secondary measurement, but were unable to see any secondary star. Both double stars were observed in April 2014.
Speckle Interferometry of HU 920 and A 2246
Authors: Young Cho1 , Arthur Chang1 , and Grady Boyce2
Abstract: Speckle interferometry observations were made of HU 920 (WDS 17201+6206) and A 2246 (WDS 17285+0224) with a 2.1-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. The position angles and separations of each were measured and compared to historical observations. The position angle and separation of HU 920 are 316.8° and 0.4″, respectively. The position angle and separation of A 2246 are 122° and .39”, respectively
Speckle Interferometry of KUI 71, A 351 AB, and A 234 AB
Authors: Ayden Haen1 , David Hoffman1 , Blake Howard1 , and Grady Boyce2
Abstract: KUI 71 (WDS 16053+5810) and A 351 AB (WDS 17293+2924) were measured via speckle interferometry with a 2.1-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory on 2014.284. The position angles and separations of these two pairs were found to be 10.7° and 0.6″, and 52.8° and 0.38, respectively. We were unable to resolve A 234 AB (WDS 17526+2536).
Two Unresolved Double Stars: HDS 1615 and CHR 138 Aa,Ab
Authors: Christopher Salisbury1 , Elijah Countryman1 , Caleb Morris1 , and Grady Boyce2
Abstract: HDS 1615 (WDS 11193+4930) and CHR 138 Aa,Ab (WDS 16238+6142) were selected from the Washington Double Star Catalog because they had only one and two past observations, respectively. Each double star was observed using speckle interferometry in April 2014 with a 2.1m telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory. We were unable to confirm the secondary for either double star. The separation and position angle of STF 2054 AB, which is part of the CHR 138 Aa,Ab system, was measured and compared to past observations.
Mt. Wilson 100-inch Speckle Interferometry Engineering Checkout
Authors: Russell M. Genet1 , David Rowe2 , Thomas Meneghini3 , Robert Buchheim4 , Reed Estrada5 , Chris Estrada6 , Pat Boyce7 , Grady Boyce7 , John Ridgely1 , Niels Smidth1 , Richard Harshaw8 , and John Kenney9
Abstract: The historic 100-inch Hooker telescope at Mt. Wilson Observatory has been brought back to operational status. Its use for speckle interferometry at its new relayed optical focus was evaluated with an Andor Luca emCCD camera. While useable speckle images were obtained, there was some electromagnetic interference from powerful nearby transmitters that shielding and other EMI reduction measures should handle.
Kitt Peak Speckle Interferometry of Close Visual Binary Stars
Authors: Russell Genet1,2,3 , David Rowe4 , Thomas C. Smith5 , Alex Teiche1 , Richard Harshaw6 , Daniel Wallace3 , Eric Weise7 , Edward Wiley8 , Grady Boyce9 , Patrick Boyce9 , Detrick Branston10, Kayla Chaney11, R. Kent Clark12, Chris Estrada13, Thomas Frey1 , Reed Estrada14, Wayne Green15, Nathalie Haurberg16, John Kenney11, Greg Jones17, Sheri Loftin18, Izak McGieson16, Rikita Patel11, Josh Plummer12, John Ridgely1 , Mark Trueblood19, Donald Westergren20, and Paul Wren
Abstract: Speckle interferometry can be used to overcome normal seeing limitations by taking many very short exposures at high magnification and analyzing the resulting speckles to obtain the position angles and separations of close binary stars. A typical speckle observation of a close binary consists of 1000 images, each 20 milliseconds in duration. The images are stored as a multi-plane FITS cube. A portable speckle interferometry system that features an electronmultiplying CCD camera was used by the authors during two week-long observing runs on the 2.1-meter telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory to obtain some 1000 data cubes of close binaries selected from a dozen different research programs. Many hundreds of single reference stars were also observed and used in deconvolution to remove undesirable atmospheric and telescope optical effects. The data base of well over one million images was reduced with the Speckle Interferometry Tool of PlateSolve 3. A few sample results are provided. During the second Kitt Peak run, the McMath-Pierce 1.6- and 0.8-meter solar telescopes were evaluated for nighttime speckle interferometry, while the 0.8-meter Coude feed was used to obtain differential radial velocities of short arc binaries.
Potential of the McMath-Pierce 1.6-Meter Solar Telescope for Speckle Interferometry
Authors: Richard Harshaw1 , Gregory Jones2 , Edward Wiley3 , Patrick Boyce4 , Detrick Branston5 , David Rowe6 , and Russell Genet7
Abstract: We explored the aiming and tracking accuracy of the McMath-Pierce 1.6 m solar telescope at Kitt Peak National Observatory as part of an investigation of using this telescope for speckle interferometry of close visual double stars. Several slews of various lengths looked for hysteresis in the positioning system (we found none of significance) and concluded that the 1.6 m telescope would make a useful telescope for speckle interferometry.
Measurements of HJ 5175 and Collection of New CCD Images
Authors: Bianca Luansing1 , Richard Mao2 , Ethan Yao2 , Ethan Black1 , Smayra Ramesh2 , and Grady Boyce3
Abstract: New measurements of position angle and separation for the WDS 20327-8155 (HJ 5175) double star system with components AB, AC, and BC are analyzed and reported from images taken at the Siding Spring Observatory in Australia. The resultant measurements, plotted alongside previously measured position and separation, seem to suggest two things: the original measurement, calculated by John Herschel, appears to be inaccurate, and without the Herschel measurement, the plots indicate a steady increase in distance between the stars in the system.
Speckle Interferometry of Four Close Binaries First Results of the Tierra Astronomical Institute Telescope
Authors: Rick Wasson3 , Jesse Goldbaum1 , Pat Boyce4 , Robert Harwell1 , Jerry Hillburn5 , Dave Rowe6 , Sina Sadjadi1 , Donald Westergren2 , and Russell Genet7
Abstract: This paper documents first use for speckle interferometry of the Tierra Astronomical Institute’s 24-inch telescope, located at Terra Del Sol, some 60-miles east of San Diego, CA. Measurements are reported for four close binary systems – STF2173AB, D15, STF2205, and HSD2685 – observed over the weekend of July 1-3, 2016. The objectives of this engineering checkout run were to evaluate the integration of the telescope and ZWO ASI 290MM high speed CMOS camera, and to establish observational procedures for future speckle observations, including those made with advanced high school and college student researchers. Difficulties encountered in the checkout are described, along with suggestions for overcoming them in the next run
Speckle Interferometric Observation of WDS 14564+8503
Authors: Stephen White1 , Paige Benson1 , Sepehr Ardebilianfard1 , Gezal Bahmani1 , Alexander BeltzerSweeney1 , Irena Stojimirovic1 , Richard Harshaw 2 , Grady Boyce3 , Pat Boyce
Abstract: Speckle interferometric observations of the tertiary system WDS 14564+8503 were made in order to measure the position angle (theta) and separation (rho) of the AB component, and were found to be 291.516° ±0.098º and 3.433” ±0.010”, respectively. The measurements showed a continuation of the linear motion trend, but were inconclusive in confirming whether or not the AB component is gravitationally bound
Astrometric Measurements of Binary Star System WDS 12069+0548
Authors: Stephen White1 , Paige Benson1 , Sepehr Ardebilianfard1 , Gezal Bahmani1 , Irena Stojimirovic1 , Alexander Beltzer Sweeney1 , Grady Boyce2 , and Pat Boyce2
Abstract: Astrometric measurements were obtained of the double star system WDS 12069+0548 HJ 1210 using the iTelescope network. A mean position angle of 116.68º ± 0.40º and a separation distance of 7.044˝ ± 0.123˝ were measured, and showed an increase of 1.23º and 0.052” respectively from the last observation in epoch 2012.220. Historical data, in combination with our current measurements, were unable to show obvious signs of orbital motion. While the data was inconclusive in verifying the previous assumption of the system being a physical binary based on the relative proper motion, it was in line with the historical trend of a gradual increase in position angle and separation.
Close Binary Star Speckle Interferometry on the McMath-Pierce 0.8-Meter Solar Telescope
Authors: Edward Wiley1 , Richard Harshaw2 , Gregory Jones3 , Detrick Branston4 , Patrick Boyce5 , David Rowe6 , John Ridgely7 , Reed Estrada8 , and Russell Genet7
Abstract: t Observations were made in April 2014 to assess the utility of the 0.8-meter solar telescope at the McMath-Pierce Solar Observatory at Kitt Peak National Observatory for performing speckle interferometry observations of close binary stars. Several configurations using science cameras, acquisition cameras, eyepieces, and flip mirrors were evaluated. Speckle images were obtained and recommendations for further improvement of the acquisition system are presented.