Understanding Variable Stars

Cambridge University Press, 24.05.2007
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This book was first published in 2007. Variable stars are those that change brightness. Their variability may be due to geometric processes such as rotation, or eclipse by a companion star, or physical processes such as vibration, flares, or cataclysmic explosions. In each case, variable stars provide unique information about the properties of stars, and the processes that go on within them. This book provides a concise overview of variable stars, including a historical perspective, an introduction to stars in general, the techniques for discovering and studying variable stars, and a description of the main types of variable stars. It ends with short reflections about the connection between the study of variable stars, and research, education, amateur astronomy, and public interest in astronomy. This book is intended for anyone with some background knowledge of astronomy, but is especially suitable for undergraduate students and experienced amateur astronomers who can contribute to our understanding of these important stars.

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Seite 6 - Therefore do I lay these hitherto sorely neglected variables most pressingly on the heart of all lovers of the starry heavens . May you become so grateful for the pleasure which has so often rewarded your looking upward, which has constantly been offered you anew, that you will contribute your little mite toward the more exact knowledge of these stars!
Seite 5 - The whole subject of variable stars," says Herschel, " is a branch of practical astronomy which has been too little followed up, — it holds out a sure promise of rich discovery." It is also a branch in which amateur astronomers, with moderate instrumental means, or even with good eyes alone, can labor to advantage. (6.) But we have not yet reached the widest field of inquiry. With telescopes of good definition and great power...
Seite 7 - ... the more exact knowledge of these stars! May you increase your enjoyment by combining the useful and the pleasant, while you perform an important part towards the increase of human knowledge, and help to investigate the eternal laws which announce in endless distance the almighty power and wisdom of the Creator! Let no one, who feels the desire and the strength to reach this goal, be deterred by the words of this paper. The observations may seem long and difficult on paper, but are in execution...
Seite 17 - The declination of a star is its angular distance north or south of the celestial equator, measured along the hour circle through the star. Its right ascension is the angular distance along the celestial equator, from a fixed point called the vernal equinox to the foot of the hour circle through the star. Because of the relative motion of the star and the solar system, and the precession and nutation of the equinoxes, these quantities change slowly from year to year, and because of the motion of...
Seite 17 - Star positions are complicated by precession: a 26 000-year conical motion of the earth's rotation axis, caused by the gravitational pull of the moon and sun on the earth's equatorial bulge.
Seite 4 - BRAHE on A New Star, not Previously Seen within the Memory of Any Age Since the Beginning of the World.

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