Steve Howell, head cowboy, and coiner of the famous acronym TOADs (tremendous outburst amplitude dwarf novae) welcomes everyone to the conference and explains where the bathrooms are.
His other main task for this conference seems to be getting everyone who wants one, a receipt for their expense reports. Poor Steve.
His poster on magnetic CVs has an awesome visualization. I'll try to get permission to reproduce it here. It is way cool....err, I mean hot.
Chritsian Knigge opens the paper session by reviewing what we know about the secondaries in CVs and their role in the evolution of these systems.
Check out the visualization of that bloated, star spotted, crazy looking secondary. Wild stars indeed!
More interesting is the fact that CV donor stars are larger and cooler than individual main sequence stars of equal mass. Observing these secondary properties may tell us a lot about the evolutionary track of these systems. Fascinating stuff presented very well. Two Simothumbs up for this one.
What's that? You say you don't understand magnetic braking? Don't worry, I'm in a room full of PhDs who will talk about it all day, but they don't understand it either!
Hands down winner of the animated visualizations for the conference thus far definitely goes to D.V. Bisikalo from the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow. His illustrations of accretion and the outflow of material into the envelope around the binary were fascinating to watch and quite detailed. The parameters and science used to achieve these results may be unrealistic, but the animations were glorious! Not only that, but watching the accretion overflow, I had an 'aha moment' for something I've been working on regarding Z Cam outbursts.
For those of you who remember my blog on 'Dusty Toads', here is one of the authors, Don Hoard, talking about surprising dusty environments around cataclysmic variables. They went hunting for information about the red secondary star of WZ Sge with the Spitzer Space Telescope and found so much dust they couldn't observe the secondary! A surprising result that may lead to, well, who knows?
I'll be interviewing Steve and Don about their dusty toads and where this new result may lead CV research.
On a personal note: it has been a lot of fun meeting the people and associating the names with the faces. I met several Japanese observers and important contributors to CVnet-Akira Arai, Hiroshima University, Izumi Hachisu, University of Tokyo, Akira Imada, Kagoshima University, Daisaku Nogami, Kwasan Observatory, Kyoto University. I also got to meet and talk with astronomers using AAVSO data for their papers here at this conference or elsewhere: Brad Schaefer, Louisiana State University, Christian Knigge, University of Southampton.
AAVSO was well represented with Arne Henden giving a poster presentation with hundreds of AAVSO light curves and Paula Szkody talking about pulsating white dwarfs in SDSS CVs.
Boris Gaensicke, who I met for the first time in Cambridge, UK last spring, seems to have his fingers in so many pies here it is quite remarkable. He is listed as a co-author or principle investigator on at least 40% (UNSCIENTIFIC SIMO-ESTIMATE) of the papers being presented.
And on a personal basis, I had the pleasure of meeting Kurtis Williams, of Professor Astronomy's Astronomy Blog .
He has been kind enough to support the AAVSO Writers Bureau with his blogs and is an all around nice guy who it is my pleasure to have met finally.
It's been a good time so far. More later.