Science Projects


Hunting Outbursting Young Stars (HOYS)

This is a Citizens Science Project run by the University of Kent and aims to observe nearby, young star clusters and star forming regions visible from the northern hemisphere to study the variable brightness of forming young stars. The target list currently contains 9 young clusters visible in the winter and 8 targets for the summer skies.  The project will run for about 20 years to obtain long term results, however shorter time magnitude fluctuations have already been seen from the data so far collected (See below).

Ideally the project would like to have an image of all targets every day of the year.  The need for as many Observatories/Clubs/Individuals to take images will reduce the problems of cloudy skies over parts of the country.  The premise is, if there are observers all over the country at least one site might have clear skies on any given night for images to be taken, hence the involvement of us here at the Hampshire Astronomical Group.

HAG are regular contributors to this Citizens Science Project making over 780 accepted images.  Members forward their images of the targets taken with either the Groups telescopes and camera equipment, or using their own telescopes from their home locations.  These are added to the Kent University Database for subsequent analysis by PHD students, and some results have already been published in scientific papers and Journals.  The latest with Group input was for V1490Cyg awaiting final approval for publication in early 2020.

As of October 2021 the project has processed 226 million brightness measurements in their database from over 51,500 processed images.  A proportion of this data was submitted by HAG members.

Here is just one result of earlier observations.  This is the area around the star V2492Cyg in the Pelican Nebula in the constellation of Cygnus the Swan.  The image on the right was taken in October 2018, and on the left in February 2019. As can be seen the star faded by more than 5 magnitude, most likely due to dust in the circumstellar disk from which the young star has formed, moving between the star and us here on earth.

The latest target of interest, as of 28 October 2021, is one detected by a teacher in our HOYS LCO teacher training program.  The image in the field below turns out to be 1.5 mag brighter from the last time we looked at this young star.  The star is in the Gaia19fct target field near the Double Mint Cluster (NGC2343) in Monoceros.  We wait for more Data and analysis to see what has been going on.

More info at