Time-series data taken with the Hubble Space Telescope of a field six core radii ( ~ 5') from the center of the globular cluster Messier 4, and covering a period of about 10 weeks in early 2001, have been analyzed in search of variable objects. Various selection criteria were employed to select candidate variable stars. Period searches were performed on the selected candidates using phase dispersion minimization (PDM). The reliability of the PDM search results was tested using synthetic light curves of eclipsing binary stars and sinusoidal light curves at different periods. Results from this analysis showed that there are probably no eclipsing binary stars or periodic variables with periods on the order of a few hours to a few days, down to limiting magnitudes of V ~ 25 and I ~ 24, which is consistent with the absence of contact binaries such as W Ursae Majoris systems. However, one candidate variable star does show a increase in brightness of ~ 0.1 magnitudes in both bandpasses, which seems to last for a few days. Possible explanations concerning the nature of this object include a binary system with a white dwarf primary and an extremely low-mass main sequence secondary, or a BY Draconis variable star.
American Astronomical Society Meeting Abstracts
- Pub Date:
- December 2002