Before starting this project, read the following information carefully.
Observe variable stars with your own telescope
INTEGRAL carries four cutting-edge instruments. IBIS, the Imager on Board the INTEGRAL Satellite, and SPI, the Spectrometer on INTEGRAL, detect high-energy gamma rays emitted by celestial sources. The other two instruments: JEM-X, the Joint European X-Ray Monitor, and the OMC, or Optical Monitoring Camera, study other types of electromagnetic radiation emitted by the astronomical objects that are studied by IBIS and SPI; JEM-X detects X-rays, and the OMC observes visible light.
While capturing visible light from a selected, high-energy source, the OMC also gathers information about other objects that happen to be within its field of view. Over the years, many of these objects have been found to be variable stars - a type of star whose brightness fluctuates over time.
Of these variable stars, there are many types: Cepheid Variables rhythmically shrink and swell; FK Comae Berenices variables rotate so quickly they are not spherical in shape; and Eclipsing Binaries form a system of two stars orbiting a central point, one of which passes in front of the other, thus blocking the light of the other star from our line of sight.
Take up the challenge – observe variable stars
In this project, you will observe a number of variable stars using your own telescope and obtain images of them using a CCD camera. After processing the image, you will produce the light-curve for each of the variable stars.
A list of variable stars, all observed by INTEGRAL’s OMC, is provided for you to observe. They have been selected as they are visible from the northern hemisphere during the period of the competition and are easily observable with amateur telescopes. The exercise will require you to compare and combine the light-curves from your own observations with those obtained with OMC data. In the right-hand menu, under ‘See also’ you will find links to the following information that you will need to complete this project:
Record your project – make a poster
To enter the competition, you are required to submit your observations and analysis as a scientific poster. Your poster should be submitted electronically, with a format no larger than A0 in size (or equal to 8 x A4 pages). In the poster, you are expected to detail the work that you have done and what you have found out (for examples of scientific posters, see this image). For instructions on submitting your poster for the competition, see Submit entry
Judging the project
The poster will be evaluated by a panel of judges that includes scientists who are working on the INTEGRAL mission. It is important to ensure that the poster does justice to the hard work you have done for your project. The judges will assess the following criteria:
Hints and tips
Check these pages regularly throughout the duration of the competition for any updates and further information.
If you have any questions about the competition or would like to be notified of any updates, contact Rebecca Barnes at SciEduesa.int