AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

Variable Stars in the College Classroom (Abstract)

Volume 47 number 2 (2019)

Kristine Larsen
Copernican Observatory and Planetarium, Central Connecticut State University, 1615 Stanley St. New Britain, CT 06050; larsen@ccsu.edu

Abstract

(Abstract only) Variable stars play a starring role in our understanding of the lives of stars. From the T Tauri protostar stage to starspot cycles of main sequence stars like our Sun, instability strip variations of Cepheids to the dying gasps of red giants, observations of the myriad species found in the variable star zoo have allowed us to piece together the details of stellar evolution. It is therefore important not only to introduce students to the properties of such stars but also demonstrate how our sustained monitoring of these objects continues to add to our understanding of stars, galaxies, and even the universe at large. This talk describes how variable stars have been integrated into a lab-based college level course in Stellar and Galactic Astronomy that targets non-science majors.