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Presentation Title: The light curve of a variable star: an example upper-division coding project accessible to students with no prior programming experience
Abstract: Observations of the brightness of a variable star are almost always unevenly spaced in time, and the periodicity is not readily apparent.  Students in an Observational Astronomy course with no prior programming experience were successful  at coding a Lomb-Scargle periodogram to find the period of a variable star, and then "folding" the data to create a light curve (a graph relating the brightness to the phase of the period).  Possible factors contributing to that success and implications for designing other computational projects when no programming experience can be assumed will be discussed.
Submission Category: Upper-level

Primary Author Information

First name: Steve
Last name: Cederbloom
Institution: University of Mount Union
Zip Code: 44601