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Automated Nightly Observations for the Long-Term Monitoring of KIC 8462852
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The star KIC 8462852 has puzzled astronomers since its aperiodic fluctuations in brightness and long-term secular dimming were discovered in 2016. Based on that initial data from the Kepler mission, an international collaboration has sought to better understand these two phenomena. Over the past three years, a network of observatories has been monitoring the star nightly in order to see these fluctuations in real time and send alerts to the community for further observation. The research presented here is in an effort to contribute to the continuous monitoring of KIC 8462852 using the Great Basin Observatory. Nightly observations are scheduled with ACP Observatory Control Software and an automated pipeline, using Python’s Astropy and IRAF (Image Reduction and Analysis Facility) has been setup to process the images and perform photometry in order to quickly recognize a dimming event. Since March of 2018, our data show the largest such event since the initial Kepler data and is consistent with other observations during that time. It also confirms the chromatic nature of these events, suggesting that the material obstructing the stars light is optically thin. Additionally, the secular dimming has not been witnessed and conversely, the star has portrayed a slight rising trend over this period.