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Mike Simonsen
Works at American Association of Variable Star Observers
Attended Michigan State University
Lives in Michigan
1,497 followers|647,790 views
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Work
Occupation
AAVSO Membership Director
Employment
  • American Association of Variable Star Observers
    AAVSO Membership Director, present
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Currently
Michigan
Previously
Michigan - Hawaii - Michigan - Texas - Iowa - Califronia - Ohio
Story
Tagline
astronomer, musician, writer, master gardener, enthusiastic cook, husband, father, cat lover, madman
Introduction


Mike Simonsen

American Association of Variable Star Observers

Mike is one of the world’s leading variable star observers and advocates. Since 1998 he has submitted over 89,000 variable star observations to the AAVSO International Database.

Mike is currently employed by the AAVSO as Membership Director and Development Officer. Among the many hats Mike wears, he is in charge of membership services and fundraising, and coordinates the AAVSO's online education institute, CHOICE.

His current area of research is the Z Cam sub-type of dwarf novae. Mike is the author or co-author of more than twenty peer-reviewed papers on cataclysmic variables.

In 2005, Simonsen received the AAVSO’s highest honor, the AAVSO Director's Award. In October 2011, Mike became only the third recipient of the Charles Butterworth Award, the British Astronomical Association Variable Star Section’s highest honor. In July, 2012 Mike received the Leslie Peltier Award from the Astronomical League. In 2015 Mike was awarded the Chambliss Amateur Achievement Award by the American Astronomical Society for his work on Z Cam dwarf novae.

Main belt asteroid 367732 is named Mikesimonsen in his honor.

An animated and enthusiastic speaker, Mike gives talks on stellar astronomy and variable star science to astronomy clubs, star parties, planetariums, conferences and university groups throughout the United States each year.

Mike's observatory, named after legendary AAVSO observer and chart maker, Charles E. Scovil, houses two 12" LX200 telescopes, one for visual use and one for CCD observations, or as Mike likes to joke, "One for each eye!" He is now amassing both visual and CCD observations from home and remote robotic telescopes.
Bragging rights
I have observed at the eyepiece of the three largest refracting telescopes in the world.
Education
  • Michigan State University
    Horticulture
  • Wayne State University
    Music Education
  • Mott High School
    Math, Science, English, Music
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Other names
Simostronomy

Stream

Mike Simonsen

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How do the most massive stars explode? A new model of massive stars predicts new observational evidence.
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This is the largest subsidence that has been observed in Iceland since measurements of the surface were begun over fifty years ago. 
The recent volcano eruptions in Iceland have created enormous circular depressions in two of the country’s glaciers.
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Mike Simonsen

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“ALMA has now given us the best view yet of a binary star system sporting protoplanetary discs  — and we find that the discs are mutually misaligned!” said Eric Jensen, an astronomer at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, USA.

The two stars in the HK Tauri system, which is located about 450 light-years from Earth in the constellation of Taurus (The Bull), are less than five million years old and separated by about 58 billion kilometres — this is 13 times the distance of Neptune from the Sun.
Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) have found wildly misaligned planet-forming gas discs around the two young stars in the binary system HK Tauri. These new ALMA observations provide the clearest picture ever of protoplanetary discs in a double star. The new result also helps to explain why so many exoplanets — unlike the planets in the Solar System — came to have strange, eccentric or inclined orbits. The r...
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Unlike planes today, giant pterosaurs did not need runways. They were experts at vertical takeoff, a feat that is impossible or incredibly inefficient for today's aircraft. Because the reptiles had stiff but lightweight, hollow bones, they could use all four limbs—both their feet and wings—to push powerfully against the ground.
Even the U.S. Department of Defense has shown interest in these long-extinct reptiles
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Mike Simonsen

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One popular theory is that such an object could arise when two comets – even two compositionally distinct comets – melded together under a low velocity collision during the Solar System’s formation billions of years ago, when small building blocks of rocky and icy debris coalesced to eventually create planets. Perhaps comet 67P/C-G will provide a unique record of the physical processes of accretion.
Tweet This week’s images of comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko reveal an extraordinarily irregular shape. We had hints of that in last week’s images and in the unscheduled previews that were seen a few days ago, and in that short time it has become clear that this is no ordinary comet. Like its name, it seems that comet 67P/C-G is in two parts. What the spacecraft is actually seeing is the pixelated image shown at right, which was taken by Rosetta’s...
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Phil Plait favors the idea that a small impactor broke the comet in two, but the two bits fell back together. IMO, it should be painted yellow, as all rubber ducks. Wish i'd thought of it first.
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Have him in circles
1,497 people
Ian Musgrave's profile photo
Bob Moore's profile photo
Randy Griffin's profile photo
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‫منير مقدح‬‎'s profile photo
Cathy Wagner's profile photo
Jari Sundell's profile photo

Mike Simonsen

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The Planck satellite was launched in May 2009. With the highest accuracy to date, it measures the remnants of the radiation that filled the Universe immediately after the Big Bang. It is the oldest light in the Universe, emitted when...
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About two-thirds of all stars within 81 light years (25 parsecs) of Earth are binary or part of multi-star systems. Younger star and protostar populations have a higher frequency of multi-star systems than older ones, an observation that ties in with Boss’ findings that many single-star systems start out as binary or multi-star systems from which stars are ejected to achieve stability.
New research from the Carnegie Institution for Science helps to explain why binary stars are so abundant. Washington, D.C. — New modeling studies from Carnegie’s Alan Boss demonstrate that most of the stars we see were formed when unstable clusters of newly formed protostars broke up. The
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Mike Simonsen

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I know someone who has fully restored an 8-inch Dynamax telescope with some AAVSO historical significance, it was owned by George Van Biesbroeck, who would like to sell this to someone who will appreciate the unique value it has because of its connection to this famous astronomer (and AAVSO Council member).  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Van_Biesbroeck
If you are interested, contact me and I'll put you in touch with the seller.
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I had one of those! Awesome to know. 
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The first class in the CHOICE fall schedule is now open for registration!
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We've been cutting watermelon wrong all these years!
See the new, brilliant ideas for serving the summer favorite
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The talk I gave at SAS in June about the Z CamPaign ended with my theory that the culprit in all this odd Z Cam behavior is flares on the red dwarf surface. Conclusion of a paper, "Anomalous Z Cam stars: a response to mass-transfer outbursts", just pre-published today? Pretty much the same. Nice.

"Conclusions: We study the possible origins of such mass transfer outbursts, and show that they most probably result from a giant flare near the secondary star surface, possibly due to absence of star-spots in the L1 region."
Abstract: Recent observations of two unusual Z Cam systems, V513 Cas and IW And, by Szkody et al. (2013) have shown light-curves that seem to contradict the disc instability model for dwarf novae: outbursts are appearing during standstills of the system when, according to the model, ...
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My waitress was very attentive in spite of being quite busy, and I ran her butt off. I left her a generous tip which she very much deserved. The Texas Pesos appetizer was something I had never had before. I loved them, but was glad they come with Ranch dressing to cool them down a bit. They do have a bite. The broccoli and cheese with jalapeno soup was simply awesome. I could have just had a big bowl of that for dinner and gone away happy. The mashed potatoes with my steak were so good they didn't need gravy, butter, salt or anything. This place is on my 'must do list' next time I'm in Ft. Worth.
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Food: Very GoodDecor: Very GoodService: Excellent
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
A Mexican restaurant is only as good as its salsa. There's salsa is almost as good as their food. If you can find a better Mexican restaurant in Big Bear Lake California I'll eat your burrito.
Food: Very GoodDecor: Very GoodService: Very Good
Public - a year ago
reviewed a year ago
4 reviews
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I wish every contractor I've dealt with was a professional and efficient as these guys. Holland H&C installed a furnace and AC unit for us in 2005, and the two man crew who came to our house were simply amazing. I recommend you just call these guys to do your work and don't even bother checking anyone else. BTW, our Trane furnace and AC are the best improvement we've ever made to a home and neither has ever given us a lick of trouble in 8 years.
Public - 2 years ago
reviewed 2 years ago