Faculty Mentor

Ted von Hippel


This report details light curve analysis for four Cepheid variable stars (Polaris, RT Aurigae, RX Aurigae, and Zeta Geminorum) using Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University's 1-meter reflecting telescope and a SBIG-STX 16803 camera with a g filter. Observations were conducted once per week during the Spring 2021 semester; at least one three-hour shift was allotted per week according to the Observational Astronomy Telescope Allocation Committee (TAC). Individual light curves for each target Cepheid were then compared to published data to analyze evidence of evolution on the Instability Strip. Although the light curves showed the sinusoidal nature of brightness oscillations, amplitudes of the three latter Cepheids varied significantly from accepted values. It is possible that the maximum or minimum brightness was missed for these targets during the constrained observational timeframe. The resulting light curves were then used to establish a period range reference of 15 days or less for future variabe photometry observations with the Embry-Riddle 1-m telescope.



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