Astronomers discover dozens of new variable stars

(ORDO NEWS) — Using the Nanshan One-meter Wide-field Telescope (NOWT), Chinese astronomers have observed an open cluster of stars called NGC 2355 and its surroundings in search of variable stars. Scientists have discovered 72 new variable stars in this region of outer space.

Clusters of stars provide excellent opportunities for studying the evolution of stars because they are groups of stars with similar properties, such as the same age, located at the same distance and having the same initial chemical composition.

In particular, astronomers often search for variable stars in young star clusters to better understand pre-main sequence stars.

Recently, a team of astronomers led by Hong Wang of the Xinjiang Astronomical Observatory, China, conducted an extensive search for variable stars in the NGC 2355 star cluster using the NOWT observatory’s CCD camera.

Located about 5,400 light-years away in the direction of the constellation Gemini, NGC 2355 is an open cluster about 900 million years old. To date, only a few campaigns have been conducted to search for variable stars in this cluster.

Overall, Wang’s team managed to detect 88 variable stars over 13 nights of photometric observations. It turned out that 72 of these 88 luminaries are previously unknown variable stars, while the rest are known variable stars that were previously reported in the literature.

The researchers classified the discovered stars based on their light curves and calculated the fundamental parameters of the stars.

Of this set, 52 stars were classified as pulsating stars, 26 were eclipsing binaries, and 4 were classified as rotating variable stars. For the remaining 6 variable stars, belonging to a particular class could not be established.

The researchers also note that four variable stars from the discovered set are members of the NGC 2355 star cluster, in which 11 variable stars were known in a previous study conducted in 2018.

They are located on the periphery of the cluster and are close in spatial arrangement and kinematic properties to the cluster member stars, the authors point out.

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