The Classification of Variable Stars

As you are beginning to understand, there are myriad types of variable stars but they can generally all be arranged into a handful of reasonably well-defined classes: the six classes described in Chapter 1. Of course, new classes of variable stars will inevitably be suggested and some stars will change designations in the years to come. Perhaps your observations will be responsible for some of these changes. Certainly, changes will have occurred in the short time since the publication of this book.

In this light, I am aware that a few astronomers will argue that a star or two may be misplaced within the following arrangement, especially those stars not officially recognized within the GCVS. My humble intention is to keep our examination of the major classifications as simple as possible without violating the currently accepted nomenclature and with due consideration for the dynamic criteria with which variable stars are judged, labeled and classified. With that said, I fully understanding that a zestful debate, conducted elsewhere, regarding the proper classification of some of these stars could be considered enjoyable, perhaps even obligatory.

By keeping the classification scheme as simple as possible, it should be a little easier to learn the numerous types of variable stars; however, as a precaution against unrealistic expectations, I refer you back to Kahlil Gibran's quotation at the beginning of

Figure 2.2. Light curve oflhe Mira-tyP® variable star, T Cos. This type of slar shows a periodic variation in brightness Data provided by VSNET

Used with permission.

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