2012 programme

Sat 7th 14:15-15:00

Analysing a Variable Star – from observations to physical model.

Dr Thomas Richards


Observing the changes in brightness of a variable is the essential first stage in finding out what it is like astrophysically. In this talk I will take as an example CU Hydrae, an eclipsing binary that had hardly ever been looked at since its discovery in 1936. In 2010 and 2011 it was observed using CCD-equipped telescopes by a number of VSS and BAA observers in a joint project. This presentation will describe the journey from those observations, building a light curve out of them, finding period changes over the years and what that signifies, working out what sort of stars make up the binary – masses, luminosities, orbits, shapes, and finally building a 3D model of the system.