The 2009 Periastron of Colliding Wind Binary WR140  

I took part in this Pro-Am campaign which ran from December 2008 to March 2009     (PI  Dr Tony Moffat, Amateur coordinator Dr Thomas Eversberg)

This is the region of the spectrum of interest which was expected to show the effect of the colliding winds from the Wolf Rayet and its companion O star as they came close at periastron

(Recorded using the LHIRES III spectrograph with a 600 l/mm grating)



Zooming in on the flat topped WR140 CIII line we clearly see the effect of the wind interaction during periastron (black), superimposed on the pre periastron spectrum (red)

Note also the small peak from the O star in the centre of the CIII line which moves relative to the broad WR140 line as the stars move in their respective orbits (The animation is plotted relative toWR140)


The results from the campaign at all wavelengths from Infra-Red  to X Ray  were discussed at a  Pro-Am workshop held in Portugal the following year. The proceedings can be downloaded here

The results were finally published as a peer reviewed paper in 2011 in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

The amateur campaign was also the subject of magazine articles in Sterne und Weltraum December 2009 and Sky and Telescope April 2011

As a result of the successful collaboration a new Pro-Am group "Convento" was formed.



More information on amateur involvement in the campaign

Peredur Williams' page on WR140