Search and Identification of Short-Period Variable Stars

Keri Christian (Clark High School), Allie Frymire (Greenhill School), Holly Hodge (Plano Senior High School), Rithvik Ramesh (IB World School at Plano East Senior High School), Daniel Sela (Yorktown Education), Jorden Terrazas (Harmony Science Academy Euless), Muaz Wahid (Parish Episcopal School), Grace Wolfe (All Saints Episcopal School)

Guven Yilmaz (Harmony Science Academy Euless)

Farley Ferrante (Southern Methodist University)


Eight students from various high schools used the data from the ROTSE-1 and ROTSE-3 telescopes to search for and identify short period variable stars. Students studied methods and analysis of stellar astrophysics. They have also used public data releases such as NSVS, CRTS, ASAS3 and SuperWASP. Variable stars that were not catalogued previously were submitted to the International Variable Star Index (VSX) for verification and approval. This year students identified 16 stars. They have not just learned the scientific process but also to be a part of it. Some students developed new code to make searches faster. They also asked questions to scientists when they had a struggle to identify. An Iimportant part of this project was students realizing that their hypothesis is not necessarily the right explanation.