The Science of Variable Stars


Donn Starkey lives in the wild and untamed cornfields of Northern Indiana.  Although interested in astronomy at a young age, he got serious about it in 1996 when he and his youngest son built a 10’x10’ roll off roof observatory to house an 8” SCT telescope that was used in a science fair project.  That led to building a two-story domed observatory in 2004 to house a newly acquired .41-meter Ritchie-Chretien telescope.  Starkey spends most of his time observing long period variable stars and cataclysmic binary variable stars.  He has authored or co-authored over 40 papers on astronomy.

Starkey has an undergraduate degree in Biology and Chemistry from Manchester College and a Master of Science degree in Astronomy.  He holds two US patents dealing with the Ultraviolet Light Cure of Epoxy Resins. We are also proud to call Don Starkey a member of The Martz-Kohl Observatory.

This webinar by Donn Starkey explains how stars develop and why some stars spend part of their lifespan being variable stars. Variable stars are stars that change brightness. These strange stars can seem to blink from bright-to-dim, or even on-and-off in brightness by a thousandth of a magnitude (how bright a star looks) to as much as twenty magnitudes brighter and dimmer over periods of a fraction of a second to years, depending on the type of variable star. A few questions answered in this webinar are: What are some of the more common types of variable stars?  How do we measure the magnitude of stars? As well as what does the science of variable star astronomy teach us about the universe? © 2021


Help the Martz-Kohl Observatory bring lectures, movies and other events to the observatory and online. Please donate via PayPal.