Searching for Periodic Light Variability in Proto-Planetary Nebulae Candidates

Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Bruce Hrivnak


Arts and Sciences


Physics and Astronomy

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Spring 5-4-2017


The purpose of this research is to find periodic light variability in proto-planetary nebulae (PPNe) candidates. These are Sun-like stars that have expanded into a red giant and then ejected their outer layers. Pulsations in the star causes the light variability we observe, and the period of these pulsations can give us key information about the star itself. Using measurements of brightness over many years, the light curves can be analyzed to search for periodicity. Six PPNe candidates were studied in the southern-hemisphere for analysis. They were observed remotely with the SARA consortium telescope in Chile over an interval of five to six years and light curves were obtained from the data. These light curves were then analyzed by using a period searching program based on a Fourier analysis of the data. Of the six candidates, five were found to vary and three had periodic light variation. Periods range from 30 to 90 days. This is consistent with the periods of about 20 other previously studied and published PPNe. This research was supported by grants from the National Science Foundation and the Indiana Space Grant Consortium.

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