Forty Years of Linking Variable Star Research with Education


  • John R. Percy Department of Astronomy & Astrophysics, and Dunlap Institute for Astronomy & Astrophysics, and Centre for Science, Math, and Technology Education, University of Toronto


Stars, Variables, Osciallations, Methods, Data Analysis, Astronomy Education


In this review, I reflect on four decades of my experience in linking astronomy research and education by supervising variable-star research projects by undergraduates, and by outstanding senior high school students. I describe the evolution of my experience, the students I have supervised, the nature of their projects, the educational contexts of the projects, the need for “best practices”, the journals in which we publish, and the special role of the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO). I then describe our recent research on pulsating red giants and related objects, including three astrophysical mysteries that we have uncovered. Finally, I suggest how my projects might be scaled up or extended by others who supervise student research.