Star Talk: Variable Stars – Action in the Sky

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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September 2016: Picture of the Month


Nicknamed as Tianyan, or the Eye of Heaven, the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope (FAST) is built within a natural basin in the Guizhou province of China. FAST, constructed with 4450 individual triangular-shaped panels, is the largest single dish radio telescope on Earth (its diameter is of course 500 meters). Designed to explore the Universe at radio frequencies, its operations will range from detecting hydrogen gas in the Milky Way and other galaxies, detecting distant pulsar, or even searching for radio signals from extraterrestrials.

For more information, check out APOD!

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