Variable_Star_Lab_03-010-10 - Variable stars Lab Goal:...

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Goal: Figure out whether a variable star fits the pattern for a Cepheid variable and if it does, calculate the distance the star is from Earth. Gain experience in estimating and interpolating magnitude and in plotting and interpreting a star’s change in apparent magnitude. Procedure: Part 1: The curve below is the light curve showing variation in brightness for a classic Cepheid variable star. Note how the star brightens relatively quickly, then dims more gradually. This is a characteristic of Cepheids, but not of all variable stars. The great value of Cepheid variable stars is that their intrinsic brightness is directly related to the time it takes for them to complete a cycle of brightening and dimming. Because the cycle is measurable, it is possible to figure out the absolute magnitude for a star showing the Cepheid pattern of variability. Because both absolute and apparent magnitude can be determined, the equation for distance works to calculate distance to the star. And because most stars “live” in galaxies or star clusters, they are markers for distance for those objects as well. Figure 1 From Freedman and Kaufmann, Universe, 8
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Variable_Star_Lab_03-010-10 - Variable stars Lab Goal:...

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