InStAR Books

Speckle Interferometry of
Close Visual Binaries

Edited by Russell M. Genet, Eric Weise, R. Kent Clark,
Vera Wallen, and Jolyon M. Johnson

Foreword by David Rowe

Softcover • $29.95

In 1970, Anton Labeyrie, a French astronomer, beat the seeing limit by taking hundreds of very short-exposure images of close binary stars with a high-speed film camera and processing these images in Fourier space. By circumventing the seeing limit, speckle interferometry made it possible to observe visual binaries with small separations. By the early 1980s, Harold McAlister, William Hartkopf, and their associates were making speckle interferometry observations of very close binaries on the 2.1- and 4.0-meter telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory with an intensified CCD camera connected to an Osborne portable computer. Long the province of professional astronomers on larger telescopes, Florent Losse, a French amateur astronomer, pioneered binary star speckle interferometry for smaller telescopes. Over the past three years, speckle observations of close visual binaries have been made by an eclectic group of student, amateur, and professional astronomers with a portable EMCCD-based speckle interferometry camera on two smaller telescopes and then on the 0.8- and 2.1-meter telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory. This group is also pursuing two advanced technologies: full automation to increase the quantity of observations in an economical manner, and masks adapted from exoplanet imaging to disperse the bright primary starlight away from “discovery zones” so that faint secondary stars can be detected.

Speckle Cover front2.jpg

Hardcover • $29.95

About the Editors

Russell M. Genet is the founder of the Astronomy Research Seminars. He is a Research Scholar in Residence at California Polytechnic University, an Adjunct Professor of Astronomy at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo, CA, and an Editor of the Journal of Double Star Observations.

Eric Weise is an amateur astronomer and an aspiring scientist. He has been involved in the double star community since he was in high school and has had the opportunity to work with many of the fantastic people involved double star astrometry. He continued his following his interest in astronomy by studying math and physics at the University of California, San Diego. To pay the bills, Eric works as at a medical device start up where he develops and deploys software to detect cancer in mammograms. Through some hard work and lots of luck he's been given the responsibilities of lead developer. When he's not tinkering on code you can probably find him enjoying the outdoors. Backpacking, gardening, and surfing are his favorite ways to pass the time, but you can also find him with his nose buried in a good science fiction book.

R. Kent Clark, is an Emeritus Professor of Physics at University of South Alabama and Editor of the Journal of Double Star Observations

Vera Wallen is a retired public school district superintendent and teacher with 40 years experience in education. Dr. Wallen focused her career on leading special students to achieve their full potential and maximizing faculty application of the latest learning research. A life-long dreamer of space travel, she took her first astronomy class from Russ Genet at Cuesta College in her 10th year of retirement on the central coast of California and has served as copy editor for the first two volumes of the Alt-Az Initiative books.

Jolyon Johnson is a physics teacher at Sammamish High School in Bellevue, Washington and also an Editor of the Journal of Double Star Observations. He was also a participant and long-time assistant instructor in the original Astronomy Research Seminars.

Speckle Interferometry of Close Visual Binaries Contents

I. Team-Oriented Research

  • Team Research within Communities of Practice 

  • Planning Projects

  • Managing Projects

  • Writing and Editing Papers

  • Giving Talks

  • Presenting Posters

II. Astronomical Research

  • Small Telescope Research

  • Operator-Attended vs. Robotic Telescopes

  • Precision and Accuracy

  • Astronomical Cameras

  • Double Star Astrometry

  • Exoplanet Transit Photometry

III. Astronomical Research Seminar

  • Seminar Historical Introduction

  • Seminar Evolution and Future Possibilities

  • Cuesta College Seminar Example

IV. Selected Published Papers

  • Visual Eyepiece Astrometry

  • CCD Camera Astrometry

  • Speckle Interferometry


  • Speckle Tool Box

  • Displaying Orbital Plots

  • Publication Formatting Guide