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Jeff Wilkerson

Luther College
Photometric Monitoring of the Field of Open Star Cluster M23
Since 2003 we have been using the astronomical observing facilities at Luther College to observe a half-degree square field containing more than 1600 stars each clear night from February to October. The work has resulted in hundreds of thousands of images that have passed photometric quality tests from hundreds of different nights. The unprecedented temporal coverage of this data set allows us to detect apparent stellar variability on timescales from ranging from tenths of seconds to nearly a decade and to search for rare, transient events. I will summarize wide-ranging phenomena that we have studied to date, discussing the photometric limitations presented by humid mid-western skies, statistical techniques used to confirm stellar variability, characteristics such as periods and amplitudes of variable stars, what might be learned about stellar populations from this study, details of individual star light curves, and odd transient events that appear in such a data set.
Related File: file240M23_Wilkerson.ppt
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