The University of New South Wales Extrasolar Planet Search: a catalogue of variable stars from fields observed 2004-2007

Jesse Christiansen, Aliz Derikas, Laszlo Kiss, Michael Ashley, Stephen Curran, Duane Willis Hamacher, Martin Hidas, M.R. Thompson, John Webb, Tom Young

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


We present a new catalogue of variable stars compiled from the data taken for the University of New South Wales Extrasolar Planet Search. From 2004 October to 2007 May, 25 target fields were each observed for one to four months, resulting in ~87000 high-precision light curves with 1600-4400 data points. We have extracted a total of 850 variable light curves, 659 of which do not have a counterpart in the General Catalogue of Variable Stars, the New Suspected Variables catalogue or the All Sky Automated Survey southern variable star catalogue. The catalogue is detailed here, and includes 142 Algol-type eclipsing binaries, 23 β Lyrae-type eclipsing binaries, 218 contact eclipsing binaries, 53 RR Lyrae stars, 26 Cepheid stars, 13 rotationally variable active stars, 153 uncategorized pulsating stars with periods <10 d, including δ Scuti stars, and 222 long period variables with variability on time-scales of >10 d. As a general application of variable stars discovered by extrasolar planet transit search projects, we discuss several astrophysical problems which could benefit from carefully selected samples of bright variables. These include (i) the quest for contact binaries with the smallest mass ratio, which could be used to test theories of binary mergers; (ii) detached eclipsing binaries with pre-main-sequence components, which are important test objects for calibrating stellar evolutionary models and (iii) RR Lyrae-type pulsating stars exhibiting the Blazhko effect, which is one of the last great mysteries of pulsating star research.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1749-1763
Number of pages15
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2008

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