Daily Archives: May 31, 2012

Through a Picket Fence

Suppose you’re an astronomer interested in variable stars — stars which change brightness. You decide to collect some data on the brightness of a newly discovered variable. It never gets brighter than magnitude 9, which is too faint to be detected with the naked eye, but you’re at a major observatory so that’s no problem. You have access to, and training in the use of, high-precision CCD photometry so your data will be outstanding. Of course, you can only see it at night and there’s stiff competition for observing time on the observatory telescope, but you manage to schedule regular observations at precisely midnight every 16 days for slightly over a year.

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