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Imaging dense globular clusters like M3 and M15

on Δευ, 12/05/2014 - 12:50
The objective for this study will be to explore new photometric methods for amateur telescope
observations of ‘cluster variables’ and globular clusters using CCD photometry. Amateur telescope
photometric observations of ‘cluster variables’ in globular clusters are limited because of dense,
crowded star fields. However, with improvements in CCD photometric methods, there are
opportunities to observe cluster variables, such as RR Lyrae and SX Phoenicis type stars, through time
series analysis of multiple exposures of whole cluster images.
Traditional methods for determining light curves in ‘field’ RR Lyrae and SX Phoenicis type stars
require selection of comparison and perhaps check stars to perform differential photometry; i.e.
subtraction of flux density measures between a non-variable (comparison star) and the variable star as
they change in magnitudes over time. We explore the possibility of measuring the variable star's
periodicity in areas, or sections of a globular cluster, to sort different stellar type ‘cluster variables’
within each section of the cluster. There are areas or regions of a globular cluster which ‘pulsate’ at a
variable rate which is representative of ‘cluster variables’ that make up that region. For example: we
have detected different variability periods within the ‘core’ of a cluster compared to the outer
circumference areas of the cluster.