Amateur Space News April 22, 2014

Today’s headlines include a dwarf nova spotted by amateurs, companies trying to use amateur satellites radio frequencies, preparation for the KickSat release, a student plan to explore the Moon, and more.

The amateurs searching for exoplanets through the Planet Hunters crowdsourcing project spotted signs of a dwarf nova contaminating the light curve from one of the Kepler target stars. A dwarf nova is a white dwarf star - the fading embers of a dead star - that has a main sequence companion star orbiting nearby. The companion orbits so closely that the white dwarf strips plasma from the companion’s surface. The accretion disk formed as the plasma spirals into the white dwarf glows brightly. Light from this particular dwarf nova contaminated the Kepler data because it lies along the line passing through Earth and the Kepler target star. Professional researchers in Japan saw the discussion in Planet Hunters’ Talk forum and conducted follow-on research of their own. Links to the original amateur discussion on Planet Hunters as well as to a preprint of the new paper are on the Planet Hunters blog post.

A wireless broadband company’s plan to use part of the radio spectrum traditionally used by amateur radio - and increasingly by amateur satellites - is coming under fire from the Amateur Radio Relay League and other amateur radio organizations. This TV Technology article explains the issue and the powerful players lining up in support of the changes.

The British Interplanetary Society announced a satellite radio workshop at the society’s London headquarters May 3. The BIS sponsored a fleet of Sprite circuit board satellites in the KickSat crowdfunding project. The workshop will prepare people to track the radio signals the Sprites broadcast.

Seniors at Purdue University’s School of Aeronautics and Astronautics released the results of their senior design project - a $550 billion Artemis Project to establish three bases on the Moon. The plan is documented in a 1,100 page report and a 105MB presentation. The Lafayette Journal and Courier covered the students’ final presentation which Nasa administrators attended via conference call.

The Blade wrote about an Ohio high school rocket team who will compete in the Team America Rocketry Challenge.

Dr. Catherine Mary McGrath is one of the three Irish candidates for the Mars One settlement of Mars.