AAS Meeting #193 - Austin, Texas, January 1999
Session 34. Teaching Astronomy in Colleges and Universities
Display, Thursday, January 7, 1999, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibits Hall 1

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[34.05] Searching for New Variable Stars: An Educational Project to Mine Archival Data

B.D. Walls, C.E. Redmond, L.J. Murdick, D.B. Caton (Appalachian State University)

As a Senior Seminar project,. three students were each assigned a night of images of a field containing a variable star observed under our eclipsing binary photometry program. Each field was eight arc-minutes square, with the images coming from the DFM 32-inch telescope at our Dark Sky Observatory. The exposures used a Photometrics CH250 camera with a Tektronix 10242 CCD and V-filter. Darks were obtained throughout the night, as well as sky flats at dusk or dawn. The fields were around the systems V442 Cas, WW Cyg, and V345 Lac. The students used Axiom Research's MIRA AP software for doing the aperture photometry, using one initial coordinates file for all of the reasonably bright stars in the field. This number varied from about 60 to almost 200 stars. The MIRA software is easy to use, with auto-centroiding and calibration built in, so it was just a matter of loading images and applying the calibration. One of the student/authors (BDW) wrote an application in Microsoft Visual BASIC to scan the output data files and produce new files, per star. These data sets were examined using PSI-Plot, to look for variability. Errors due to occasional drift led to centroiding problems, a lesson in itself! There were still some residual variations in a few stars that may be real. Follow-up observations will be made to verify these suspicions.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www1.appstate.edu/dept/physics/observatory/observatory.html. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: bw14466@am.appstate.edu

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