Variable stars have long been favourite targets for amateur astronomers. Nothing demonstrates the dynamic nature of our universe more than variable stars. They vary in brightness, either in a periodic fashion or in an irregular pattern. These can be as simple as eclipsing naked eye stars like beta Lyrae, or pulsating giants like Mira (which provide a yardstick for measuring the distance of other galaxies) or as extraordinary as variable stars that are destroying themselves, like SN1987A. The rate, period and form of variability tells us a great deal about the star itself - its physical form, and the processes that drive the variability.Not only are variable stars interesting to observe and analyze, they are also the cornerstone of much of astronomy, yielding secrets of stellar interiors, distances to galaxies, and even demonstrating the basic expansion of the universe. "Variable Stars, and How to Observe Them" begins by looking at the physics - the different types or variable star (and the reasons for the variability) - and considers the different forms in detail.
The second part of the book describes how amateur astronomers can make useful observations with a range of commercially-available instruments, from binoculars, through Dobsonians to larger instruments equipped with advanced CCD cameras.
Nothing demonstrates the dynamic nature of our universe more than variable stars. They vary in brightness, either in a periodic fashion or in an irregular pattern. This book looks at the physics - the different types or variable star (and the reasons for the variability) - and considers the different forms in detail.
Dr. Arne Henden is the Director of the American Association of Variable Star Observers, based at Cambridge, Massachuesetts. He has published papers on many different types of variables from pulsating stars, eclipsing binaries, novae and gamma-ray afterglows. His long-time interest in instrumentation led to the design of several optical imagers, spectrographs, NIR cameras, and the development of the large-format InSb detectors Aladdin and Orion. He became involved with the AAVSO in 1997, calibrating numerous comparison-star sequences for program variables, and later spearheaded the development of the High Energy Network for amateur study of gamma-ray burst afterglows and other high-energy phenomena.
Understanding Variable Stars.- Normal Stars (basic structure/composition, CNO cycle, HR diagram, formation/evolution, spectral type).- Variable Stars from A-Z.- Nomenclature.- Light curves, other VS concepts.- Pulsating variables (instability strip, mechanisms).- Short period pulsators (Dsct, RR Lyr).- Medium period pulsators (Cepheid, RV Tau).- Long period pulsators (SR, Mira).- Spotted/magnetic variables.- Rs cvn.- Be stars.- pulsars.- Eruptive variables.- TTau, flare stars, RCBs, SDor.- Eclipsing binaries (including exoplanets).- Interacting binaries (cvs, microquasars, novae, supernovae, GRBs etc.).- Unique variables.- microlensing.- Observing Variable Stars .- Tools of the Astronomer (telescope/binocular selection; thoughts about CCDs; web sites, the AAVSO, how to report observations, software).- Binocular variables (or, what you can do on your vacation while the family sleeps).- Visual observing with your telescope (making use of that Dob).- Deep-sky projects (for the big guns) CCD observing, faint variables.- Interesting specvialist techniques (like high-speed photometry).