Faculty Sponsor

Dr. Todd Hillwig


Arts and Sciences


Physics and Astronomy

Presentation Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Summer 7-23-2021


Research on planetary nebulae is shifting from the source of their fascinating shapes to details on how those shapes are created. The overall goal of this project is to measure the fraction of planetary nebulae that have binary central stars. In order to do this, a large amount of data is required. So we took the list of planetary nebula targets identified in Gaia data and a list of nearby, known planetary nebulae and ran them through available online databases. These databases provide data on the brightness of these stars over time. For over 2,000 objects from the Gaia list, the Catalina Sky Survey (CSS) had data on 35 of them. 16 objects exhibited possible variability. Using the Palomar Transient Facility (PTF) and the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) databases, only 4 of those appeared in the PTF and 6 in the ZTF. We narrowed the initial Gaia list to only objects with magnitudes from V = 14-16 and ran them through the All-Sky Automated Survey for Supernovae (ASAS-SN). Out of 123 objects, we found data for 96. We ran the entire list of nearby objects through ASAS-SN and found data for 113 objects of 167. We ran period searches on the data found from ASAS-SN using Period04. 14 of the objects from Gaia and 28 of the objects from the nearby objects list looked potentially variable. We present here results on some of the detected variables, preliminary statistics and a discussion of the search process.

Biographical Information about Author(s)

Emily Pavasars is a rising Sophomore at Valparaiso University in Indiana. She is majoring in Physics and Secondary Education. She was excited to receive this opportunity to explore the Astronomy research field. She is interested in doing more research in the future with the Valparaiso University Department of Physics and Astronomy as she is looking to expand her knowledge and gain experience in the field of research.