Star Talk: Variable Stars – Action in the Sky

Star Talk: Variable Stars – Action in the Sky

October 4, 2016
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var_stars “Variable Stars: Action in the Sky”, presented by John Percy, Professor Emeritus of the Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, and Dunlap Institute

Abstract: Stars aren’t changeless and boring. They may eclipse, pulsate (vibrate), flare, erupt, or even explode. These processes cause the stars to vary in brightness over time and, by studying these variations, we can learn about the nature, evolution, birth and death of the stars, and about the physical processes that occur within them. Variable stars help us to understand some of the most exciting and bizarre objects in the sky: exoplanets, supernovas, pulsars, quasars, gamma-ray bursts, and even black holes. I will also explain some of the ways in which Canadian astronomers, and skilled amateur astronomers, and my undergraduate research students are contributing to this research.

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About the Speaker: John Percy is an active Professor Emeritus in Astronomy & Astrophysics, and in Science Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE). His research deals with the nature and evolution of stars, as deduced from variable stars which change in brightness. He is a supervisor and mentor of undergraduate research students, and is known internationally for encouraging and facilitating research in variable star astronomy by skilled amateur astronomers. He is also deeply engaged in astronomy outreach: giving courses for later-life learners, and public lectures in libraries and other venues, exploring the interdisciplinary nature of astronomy, and promoting and supporting the teaching of astronomy in schools.

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Date and Location: 8:10 PM, Oct 20th, McLennan Physical Laboratories Room 203
Telescope observing: 9:00 PM on 14th floor of MP (weather permitting)

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