2012 April - Constellation Photography and Variable Stars

Experts and Images Illuminate Stars at Yerkes Teacher Workshop

April 21, 2012

by Margie Corp for Stars at Yerkes News

What do star trails, light curves, and star clusters all have in common?  They are all topics of the multifaceted teacher workshop presented at the final Stars at Yerkes workshop of the 2011 - 2012 year.  Workshop leader Richard DeCoster began the day with an introduction to Stars at Yerkes teacher Elizabeth Ramseyer.  Elizabeth gave an overview of digital cameras and their use with taking images with and without telescopes.  As with many things in scientific inquiry, trial and error is one method to determine a proper exposure time when imaging object.

Yerkes Observatory Director Kyle Cudworth continued the discussion with a brief summary of his many years of research on star clusters.  Kyle has utilized the historic archives of Yerkes in comparing the positions of stars within clusters over a century of observations with the Yerkes 40 inch refractor.  Participants were then treated to a webmeeting with the Transit of Venus.org webmaster Chuck Bueter.  Chuck described various features of his site and details about techniques for safely viewing the Transit of Venus on Tuesday, June 5.  This once in a lifetime event will be viewable anywhere  in our region, beginning around 5:00 pm and will be in process at sunset.  Resources from the Transit of Venus site were adapted to create a Transit of a Star student activity (see below).  NASA's Kepler Mission was also discussed as exoplanets are currently being discovered by analyzing light curves of the transits of these orbiting bodies around distant stars.  Resources from the Kepler mission will help students understand the concept of the transit of Venus..