Indian astronomers have discovered dozens of variable stars in the region of NGC 381

(ORDO NEWS) — Astronomers from the Aryabhatta Research Institute for Observational Sciences (ARIES) and the Physical Research Laboratory in India report the discovery of 57 variable stars in the region of the open cluster NGC 381.

The discovery was detailed in a paper published Dec. 19 on the arXiv preprint server.

Open clusters (OCs) are groups of gravitationally weakly bound stars formed from the same giant molecular cloud. So far, more than 1,000 PCs have been discovered in the Milky Way, and scientists are still looking for more.

NGC 381 (also known as Collinder 10) is located about 3,700 light years away in the constellation of Cassiopeia.

It is a rarefied cluster with a radius of about 15 light years and a mass of about 32.4 solar masses. NGC 381 is approximately 447 million years old.

A team of astronomers led by Jayanand Maurya of ARIES conducted the first study of variable stars in the cluster NGC 381 and its environs.

For this purpose, scientists used the 1.3-meter Devasthal Fast Optical Telescope (DFOT) in India. Data was collected over 27 nights between October 1, 2017 and January 14, 2019.

As a result, astronomers identified 57 variable stars in the region of NGC 381, and five of them turned out to be members of the cluster.

Astronomers have classified these variables based on the shape of their light curves, period, amplitude, and location on the Hertzsprung-Russell (HR) diagrams.

According to the study, 10 of the 57 variables identified are eclipsing binaries — eight Ursa Major W (EW) and two Algol (EA).

There are also 15 rotating variable stars in the sample and two pulsating variables – one Delta Scuti and one Gamma Dorado.

The remaining 30 variables were not assigned to any specific type, so the researchers labeled them as “variables of different types.”

The authors of the article added that more data and additional spectroscopic studies are needed to characterize these variables.


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