Last night was an exciting night! MKIDS was working really well and we observed the exoplanet Beta Pictoris b. This was one of the first directly imaged exoplanets and its quite well studied. The picture below shows an animation of the orbit of Beta Pictoris b during a 5 year period. Hopefully we can add some images from the MKIDS to this animation!
The New York Times also visited us to take some pictures of us in the control room. Luckily, we were not prepared at all and we will look like astronomers a week into their observing campaign. It did seem like Avalon was the main character of the photo shoot. The photographer left as quickly as he came, leaving us with some dread about what they are going to write about us.
While we are waiting for a new picture of Beta Pictoris b, MagAO-X was able to take an image of YSES-1 b. This planet is orbiting around its host star at a very large separation. YSES-1 is a star in the Musca constellation. Today I learned that that is the Fly constellation. I don’t know why anyone would ever make the Fly constellation but we have the people in the past to thank for that. Okay I looked it up: https://www.maas.museum/observations/2008/08/18/who-named-the-southern-constellations-is-it-time-for-some-new-ones/ Apparently we have the Dutch to thank for the Fly constellation. I apologize for the crime on astronomy of my fellow country man.
YSES-1 is a solar mass star and has two know companions orbiting around it, YSES-1 b and c. We could not image c because it is outside our field of view, which already tell you that it has an enormous orbit. The inner companion orbits the star at 162 AU, this is 31 times the orbital radius of Jupiter in our solar system. At such radii an orbit will take 2051 years. That means it completed 1 YSES-1 b year since Julius Ceasar was killed!
Song of the day
For the song of the day I chose Per Spoor from Guus Meeuwis, who is a Dutch pop/carneval singer. He became famous in the late 90’s and my mother was a big fan of his at the time. My mother took me to a concert of his in my hometown when I was 5 or 6 years old. This was my first concert ever! He mainly makes very festive music.
In the beginning, Guus is disappointed that the train was delayed by no less than 10 minutes, because he would prefer to spend this time with his girlfriend. Several things happen to him on the train. For example, he is addressed about the fact that his feet are placed on the couch, which, although Guus had the entire couch to himself, is not the intention. From the train he discovers the world and places that are new to him. Guus is impressed by the train’s discipline and hard work. He is also offered something to drink, which he did not expect at first. Although he is thirsty, he does not take anything to drink because the train arrives at its destination. From that moment on he already lurks outside, looking for his girlfriend. Once at his destination, he expects his sweetheart, his girlfriend, on the platform, but unfortunately she is not present, which leads to great sadness for Guus. At least, so it seems. Soon enough, however, it becomes clear that his love was playing a trick. She had hidden behind a pillar for comic effect, to the confusion of Guus Meeuwis. Once reunited on the platform, the train departs again.