Research topics in Variable stars

In summary, the conversation is about an undergraduate physics & astronomy student who is looking for a good research topic for the semester. They have access to a .5 m telescope in Louisville, Ky and possibly another with spectroscopy and photometry capabilities in Australia. The student is interested in finding a good star for research, particularly variable stars. One suggestion is Delta Scuti stars, which are very short period variables and could be interesting to study with spectroscopic data from the local telescope. The student also mentions previously studying HT Cas, a 108 min period eclipsing binary, but it did not have much unknown information.
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Hey,

I am an undergraduate physics & astronomy student. I am looking for a good research topic to work on for this semester. I have access to a .5 m telescope in Louisville, Ky (38 deg N), a .5 m telescope, and possibly another with a built in spectroscopy as well as photometry capabilities, both in Australia.

I am curious as to how to find a good star for research, particularly variable but anything that could bring up interesting results would be great.

Any ideas are welcomed and appreciated.

Thanks,

Brian
 
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  • #2
Delta Scuti stars are excellent candidates for study. They are very short period variables making them ideal for a limited term project. If you could get spectroscopic data to go with b and v band data from your local scope it could be quite interesting.
 
  • #3
Thanks a lot for the idea. I will continue to look into them and see if there are any good candidates for this fall season and also if there are any previously in researches ones.

A year ago, as a project for a lab, my group worked on HT Cas which is a 108 min period, eclipsing binary, but really didn't have too much not known about it.
 

1. What are variable stars and why do they differ in brightness?

Variable stars are stars that show changes in brightness over time. This variation in brightness can be caused by a variety of factors, such as changes in the star's temperature, size, or chemical composition. Some variable stars also have companion stars that can affect their brightness.

2. What are the different types of variable stars and how are they classified?

There are several types of variable stars, including Cepheid variables, RR Lyrae variables, and eclipsing binaries. They are classified based on their light curves, which show the changes in brightness over time. Each type of variable star has its own unique pattern of brightness variation.

3. How do scientists study and observe variable stars?

Scientists use various techniques to study and observe variable stars, including photometry and spectroscopy. Photometry involves measuring the brightness of a star over time, while spectroscopy involves analyzing the star's spectrum to determine its chemical composition and other properties.

4. What can we learn from studying variable stars?

Studying variable stars can provide valuable insights into the evolution of stars and the universe as a whole. By analyzing their brightness variations, scientists can determine their ages, masses, and distances, as well as gain a better understanding of the processes that occur within stars.

5. How are variable star research topics relevant to other areas of astronomy?

Variable star research is relevant to many other areas of astronomy, including exoplanet detection, stellar evolution, and cosmology. The study of variable stars can also help scientists better understand the behavior and characteristics of other types of stars, such as supernovae and pulsars.

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