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Hind's Crimson Star gets brighter

Use this chart to help you estimate the variable brightness of one of the reddest stars visible in the sky.
R-Lepus-chart
Use the field stars in a 2° field of view around R Leporis to help you estimate its magnitude. Each comparison star’s magnitude is listed with the decimal point omitted to avoid confusing it for a faint star. Data courtesy the AAVSO
In my February 2010 column, I introduced you to Hind’s Crimson Star, also known by the variable star designation R Leporis. A long-period variable, R Leporis ranges between magnitudes 5.5 and 12 (averaging 7 to 10.5) over a 14-month cycle. When I wrote that column in September 2010, the star was at a minimum brightness of 10th magnitude. I predicted it would be somewhere between 8th and 9th magnitude by February 2011, but I want you to do your own observing to see if I’m correct.

The easiest way to estimate the brightness of R Leporis is to use a chart plotting field stars of known magnitude, which I’ve provided at right. You’ll find R Leporis by tracing a line from Alpha (α) through Mu (μ) Leporis and extending it 3½° beyond. Then, focus on the rectangular section that shows a 2° field of view around the variable star. The American Association of Variable Star Observers provides magnitudes for 13 field stars in the area. Each comparison star’s magnitude is listed with the decimal point omitted to avoid confusing it for a faint star.

What magnitude did you estimate? Send your observations to me at gchaple@hotmail.com.

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