Variable stars have always been the most intriguing (and fun) targets for observers, professional and amateur alike. Stellar variability, both intrinsic and extrinsic, provide unique insights in critical stages of stellar evolution, help determine distances to nearby galaxies and add to our understanding of explosion physics and chemical enrichment of the Milky Way.
I will introduce some of the most common aspects of stellar variability and their significance in astrophysics. I will discuss their common light curves identifiers, and present work by AAVSO observers that has led to cutting-edge scientific discoveries throughout the years. Finally, I will discuss how you can participate in variable star observations from your back yard, contributing to the AAVSO International Database and to cutting-edge science.
Dr. Stella Kafka, is the Director of the AAVSO (American Association of Variable Star Observers). Before her tenure at the AAVSO, Dr Kafka held positions at CTIO, Spitzer Science center/Caltech, Carnegie Institution of Washington/DTM and AIP Publishing. The AAVSO is an international non-profit organization of variable star observers whose mission is to enable anyone, anywhere, to participate in scientific discovery through variable star astronomy.
Please join us for a pre-meeting dinner discussion at House of Chang, 282 Concord Ave, Cambridge, MA at 6:00pm before the meeting.