Variable stars – lecture + observation

The Astronomical Society of Malta shall once again start hosting lectures on various astronomy subjects, delivered by various astronomers, followed by an observation night related to the lecture itself. The first lecture, regarding Variable Stars, shall be held on Friday, 26th of May, at 7.30pm, and shall be delivered by Stephen Brincat, a well-known Maltese astronomer who discovered three new variable stars in 2016 alone! The lecture will be followed with a sky observation session.

The Sun is classified as a dwarf star that has a stable light output with minimal variation. However, there are other stars that vary substantially in brightness. Such stars are called Variable Stars that can change their brightness up to thousands of times over periods ranging from minutes to years. Unless one is very familiar with the sky, few people have actually observed that some of the stars we see in the sky vary in brightness. Astronomers have sought to discover and follow variable stars in order to know more about these intriguing objects that is now known that many have also harbour a system of planets of their own. Currently, over 400,000 stars have been discovered and catalogued as variable stars.

Variable stars need to be systematically observed frequently in order to monitor their behaviour. Professional astronomers do not have the available time necessary to do this. Neither do they have enough telescopes to monitor the variability of thousands of variable stars. Thus, such task has been taken up by amateur astronomers that are now utilising visual and specialized CCD cameras to provide a real and highly useful contribution to science by observing these stars.

The Astronomical Society of Malta will be conducting a lecture about variable stars at the FKNK premises in Buskett, Rabat, delivered by Maltese astronomer Stephen Brincat, that will be followed by an observation session on the roof of the same building. Stephen Brincat is a well-known variable star observer, having found three new variable stars in 2016 alone.
Attendees will be given the opportunity to identify and learn on how to observe variable stars. Telescopes will also be available on site to observe other objects such as the planet Jupiter and deep sky objects.