Variable_stars_pre-lab_03-10-10 - Variable Stars pre-lab...

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Variable Stars pre-lab Read the following material and visit the suggested web sites, then answer the questions at the end of the reading and post your answers in the submission box on Blackboard. Some stars vary in brightness over the course of hours, days, months or years. Some appear to vary because they are part of multi-star systems, but the ones we are interested in for this lab vary because of their stage in life. As stars age, moving off the main sequence, some begin to vary in luminosity in a regular way while others are irregular. One example of a long period variable star, Mira, varies with a 332 day period. In the constellation Cetus, it can be a visible naked eye star, or fades in brightness to invisibility. 1 Other variable stars, called Cepheid variables, are useful to astronomers because they vary in a regular cycle that is directly related to their absolute average luminosity. Knowing the period of a Cepheid allows us to determine its absolute magnitude.
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This note was uploaded on 02/06/2011 for the course ASTR 114 taught by Professor Staff during the Spring '08 term at George Mason.

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Variable_stars_pre-lab_03-10-10 - Variable Stars pre-lab...

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