Student Research Projects on Variable Stars
For many years, I have supervised student research projects in a variety of settings: graduate thesis projects; undergraduate thesis projects which are part of our undergraduate major program; the University of Toronto's "Research Opportunity Program" which enables second-year students to complete a research project for course credit; the Ontario Work-Study Program, which provides students with career-related employment and financial support; summer research assistantships supported by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Summer Career Placement Program; and the University of Toronto Mentorship Program, which enables outstanding senior high school students to work on research projects at the university. My university encourages student research projects; I wish that more of my colleagues were willing to participate, and that more students could be served. Variable star observation and analysis are ideally suited for this purpose. They develop and integrate a wide range of science, math, and computing skills. Students experience the excitement of doing real science with real data on "their own" star or group of stars, and of contributing meaningfully to astronomical research. For many years, my students obtained photometric data from a 0.4m telescope on the university campus (Percy et al. 1997). We now obtain our data from sources such as the AAVSO visual (Percy et al. 1993) and photoelectric programs (Percy et al. 1996a}, from robotic telescopes (Percy & Attard 1992), and from the HIPPARCOS epoch photometry database (Percy & AuYong 2000). See also my paper on Archives, elsewhere in these Proceedings: data and software are readily available.
Percy, J. R. (2000). Student Research Projects on Variable Stars. In J. R. Percy and J. B. Wilson (Eds.), Amateur - Professional Partnerships in Astronomy, ASP Conference Series (Vol. 220, pp.310-311). San Francisco, CA: ASP
Type of Publication
Percy, John R.
University of Toronto
ASP Conference Series: Amateur-Professional Partnerships in Astronomy
University of Toronto
Conference Proceeding Type
Nation(s) of Study
1-7 July 1999