2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Science

Design and Construction of a Spectrograph to Monitor Changes in Mira Variable Stars
Leonard A. Stephens
Dr. Matthew M. Beaky, Faculty Mentor

Mira variables are post-main sequence stars that are burning helium in their cores and experiencing significant mass loss. Studies of this class of variable stars can provide critical information about stellar structure and stellar evolution. Few investigations of how the spectra of Mira variables change with time have been conducted. We have designed and built a low-resolution spectrograph that can be attached directly to a telescope and uses a CCD camera to record stellar spectra. The spectrograph receives light from a star through a slit and then directs the light through a series of optical devices to the CCD camera. The diffraction grating, one of the optical instruments, was chosen to maximize the signal in the visible and infrared regions of the spectrum, where most of the spectral variation occurs. We will describe the construction and calibration of the spectrograph and present examples of spectra of several Mira variable stars.

Keywords: Stellar Spectroscopy, Mira Variables, Spectrographs, Astrophysics

Topic(s):Physics

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 47-4
Location: VH 1416
Time: 2:00 pm

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