Observing Light Variations and Period Analysis of Proto-Planetary Nebulae

Faculty Sponsor

Bruce J. Hrivnak


Arts and Sciences



Document Type

Poster Presentation

Symposium Date

Summer 7-30-2018


Our research project was the observational study of a class of evolved stars called proto-planetary nebulae. These are stars in the transitional phase between red giants and white dwarfs. Most of our research was carried out at the VU Observatory (VUO), where we used the computer-controlled telescope with 16-inch mirror to observe 28 objects on a total of 14 nights (thus far) this summer. For this research, we use a charged-coupled device (CCD) camera to take images of these stars and their comparison stars in order to compare their brightness variations. Exposures times range from 1 second to 45 minutes, depending upon the brightnesses of the stars. These data, combined with VUO data from previous summers, will be analyzed using a period-finding program to determine the periods and amplitudes of these objects’ variations of light. This information is useful in order to gather more knowledge on the interior of evolved stars as well as their physical properties.

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