Taking the Pulse of the Stars
Astronomical photometry, the measurement of the brightness of objects in the heavens, is the basis of much of our knowledge of stars and the universe. Rick has focused his efforts on photometry of RR Lyrae stars since building his first observatory in 2007. Rick will show how, using simple amateur equipment and techniques in the backyard, we can measure changes in the period, temperature, and size of a variable star and actually detect stellar evolution. He will also give a brief review of the construction of his new observatory to house the Boltwood 40cm telescope.
Rick Wagner's interests in astronomy cover many fields: he has observed or imaged over a hundred comets, measured the rotation periods of asteroids, imaged trans-neptunian objects and gamma ray burst afterglows, timed exo-planet transits, and completed the Williamson Lunar Certificate, Lunar 1000 Challenge and the Finest NGC certificate. But photometry has been his bread and butter for 10 years, having shot over 70,000 images. He continues to work at improving the quality of his photometry, developing new observing techniques, writing scripts to reduce the workload and building yet another telescope to collect more data. Rick has been an RASC member for over 43 years.