RR Lyrae variable
For those who like to learn more about these variable stars:
RR Lyrae variables are periodic variable stars, commonly found in globular clusters, and often used as standard candles to measure galactic distances.
This type of variable is named after the prototype, the variable star RR Lyrae in the constellation Lyra.
RR Lyraes are pulsating horizontal branch stars of spectral class A (and sometimes F), with a mass of around half the Sun's. They are thought to have previously shed mass and consequently, they were once stars with similar or slightly less mass than the Sun, around 0.8 solar masses.
RR Lyrae stars pulse in a manner similar to Cepheid variables, so the mechanism for the pulsation is thought to be similar, but the nature and histories of these stars is thought to be rather different. In contrast to Cepheids, RR Lyraes are old, relatively low mass, metal-poor "Population II" stars. They are much more common than Cepheids, but also much less luminous. The average absolute magnitude of an RR Lyrae is about 0.75, only 40 or 50 times brighter than our Sun. Their period is shorter, typically less than one day, sometimes ranging down to seven hours.
The relationship between pulsation period and absolute magnitude of RR Lyraes makes them good standard candles for relatively near objects, especially within the Milky Way. They are extensively used in globular cluster studies, and also used to study chemical properties of older stars.
Lightcurve of a RR Lyrae variable star:
Thanks to our sister project Planet Hunters 😃
RR Lyrae itself:
by Budgieye moderator
I think light curves are fascinating, reminds me of the Fibonacci spirals in sunflower seeds.