The Tenth NEON Observing School
Asiago, September 9-22, 2012

The 10th NEON observing school took place at Asiago Observatory (Italy)  from Sept. 9th to 22th. 
 
Twenty students of 13 different nationalities performed small research programs
under the guidance of experienced  tutors.
These programs covered all aspects of a real observing program,
starting from the preparation of the 
observations to the extraction of the scientific results, 
including the set-up of the instruments,  and the  exploration of
the Astronomical Virtual Observatory Databases to see if other interesting
data were available  on the corresponding topic. 
Strong attention was also payed to interesting Targets of Opportunity!

Asiago 1.2m telescope

The practical work was introduced by a series of lectures on fundamental observing techniques:
Telescope optics, by R. Hook (ESO)
Photometry, by E. Iodice (Naples)
Spectroscopy, by M. Dennefeld (IAP-Paris, University of Paris 6)

The group led by L. Morelli (Padova), comprising A. Anuar Khan (Spain), H. Finley (France-USA),  
  T. Kopytova (Germany-Russia) and L. Puspitarini (France-Indonesia),
studied the formation and evolution of galaxies, through photometry and spectroscopy of an archetype spiral galaxy, NGC 7331.
They separated the blue, star-forming regions in the disk, from the redder, dustier bulge.
They obtained the rotational pattern with Afosc on the 1.82m telescope, and estimated the age and metallicity of the object.
This work needs to be completed by a similar study of elliptical galaxies.
The group was also lucky to be able to observe, and classify the Supernova 2012eu in an anonymous galaxy,
showing it was a type Ia about one month past maximum.
This result has been published in the IAU electronic circular CBET 3231

 
 
The group of M. Valentini (Liege), with M. Cortes (Spain), N. Ozel (Belgium), 
E. Pomante (Italy) and A. Rajpurohit (France-India), studied the red clump on the open cluster NGC 2052.
From photometry, they obtained the distance of the cluster and derived the mass of the stars.
Multi-colour photometry was used to derive their temperatures, further complemented by spectroscopy.
Synthetic spectra were then produced  for comparison with the data
and determination of abundances of  various elements like Fe, Na, Ca, etc...
This group was also lucky to be able to observe a Supernova, SN2012et,
which was classified as a Ia a few days before maximum (CBET 3227) 

 

The group of J. Mendez (IAC-La Laguna)), with P. Donati (Italy), B. Gompertz (UK), J. Japelj (Slovenia) 
and Y. Rashed (Germany-Irak), studied  the bar in the galaxy NGC 7479. 
The ellipticity, position angle, inclination, etc... were obtained with imaging.
  Spectroscopy was obtained with the 1.82m telescope in the region of the Mg triplet around 5150A
to obtain the dispersion velocity.
Long slit spectroscopy at different position angles yielded the kinematics,
with a final result of a rotational velocity of 41km/s/Mpc.
The uncertainty is however large, due to a poor S/N ratio, and clearly a larger telescope is needed
to refine this result.  
 
Intense Data Reduction

The group of P. Francois (Paris), including  G. D' Ago (Italy), B. Deka (Poland), G. Latev (Bulgaria) and J. Polshaw (UK), 
investigated the chemical history of the Milky Way.
 Old, metal-poor stars were selected for abundance analysis: only dwarf stars were retained, as their composition is
assumed to be the closest to the gaz out of which they had formed.  
The stellar parameters beiog kowj from photometry,
the spectra obtained were compared to Kuruc'z models to derive the abundances.
While no change in Ca abundance with time was noticed, a strong change of Mg abundance was put into evidence.
Other elements like Ti and Ba would be needed to complete the interpretation.
 


Finally, the group of A. Siviero (Asiago), with  Ch. Battistini (Italy), I. Gezer (Turkey), S. Murphy (UK) 
and R. Szakats (Hungary), studied the nature of Symbiotic stars through various examples.
Photometry was done, although the presence of emission lines perturbs the colour-colour diagram.
Spectroscopy was obtained for AG Dra, AX Per, CI Cyg, PU Vul, etc... each student fully observing at least one object.
Although no new outburst was put into evidence, the various types were well identifed: slow novae, WD+ late giant, etc...
The school was lucky enough that a new nova-candidate was announced during the observations,
which was then classified by us a Dwarf Nova in Pegasus (CBET 3228).  


The intense data reduction work was alternated with complementary lectures, such as:
 -The evolution of telescope optics (M. Dennefeld),
-Polarimetry (E. Giro) or
-Integral Field Unit spectroscopy (L. Coccato)

A tutorial was also given by A. Pizzella on " How to write a (good) telescope time proposal",
and the students had to put this in practice by submitting, at the end of the school,
in addition to the presentation of their scientific results,
 a telescope time request to complete the work they had done during the school.  

Cows and Students...

Despite very intense work during the whole school, some relaxation events had also been planned,
and this was nicely completed at the end of the school
by the traditional "Descent of the Herds" when cows are going down to the valley for the winter.
Asiago is definitely a nice place to live...and to work!