As part of the excellent and detailed study by Tiina Limets et al and following the official press release from Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias - IAC (home of the worlds largest telescope) on 18 May, I can reveal that as part of a long term study of the symbiotic star, R Aquarii, using deep imaging techniques from Terroux Observatory outside Canberra, I have discovered new extended features, further out than the previously known hourglass nebula, around this dynamic star system. More follow up analysis of these faint features will hopefully point to new understandings of the early history of eruptions associated with R Aquarri type Symbiotic Stars.
While my discovery two years ago of the dwarf elliptical galaxy NGC 253-dw2, associated with NGC 253, was pretty damn cool, this latest discovery is even a little more satisfying to me because while last time the experts approached me for access to my data because they could see something new in it, this time I found something new in my own data myself and then brought it to the attention of the leaders in the field of Symbiotic Star research, who subsequently did follow up confirmation with data from the largest telescopes on Earth and included my discovery in the paper above :)
To say I am excited about this is an understatement, we amateur imagers go about our nightly lives shooting pretty pictures of our amazing and beautiful night skies but this is not always to the exclusion of making real contributions to science and astronomy.
I am extremely proud to be able to contribute further to our understanding of the cosmos and its incredible and dynamic past :)