A search for pulsating B–type variable stars in the southern open clusters NGC 6204 and Hogg 22
Mentz, Jacobus Johannes
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The theory of stellar evolution and stellar structure relies on the observation of stars in di erent phases of their evolutionary cycle. The relation between observations and theory can be strengthened by obtaining observational data of a large sample of stars in a particular evolutionary phase. The search for Cephei stars, as conducted in this study, can contribute to the sample of known Cephei stars, where these interesting stars are massive non-supergiant early B-type stars, displaying pulsating behaviour which is not well understood. Stars tend to form in clusters where it can therefore be expected that young massive stars can be found in open clusters. For this reason two young southern open clusters were observed in order to search for B-type pulsating stars. The region of NGC 6204 and Hogg 22 was observed over a period of thirteen nights in Johnson B, V and I bands. NGC 6204 is believed to be the oldest cluster of the two at a distance of 0.8 kpc while the much younger Hogg 22 is more distant at 2.8 kpc. These two open clusters are located 6 arcminutes apart which made it possible to observe them simultaneously with a 12.8 12.8 arcminute eld of view. The observations were done with the newly installed 1600 telescope of the North-West University, South Africa. In order to do a variability search, periodic stars need to be identi ed from the cluster data, where a typical data set may contain thousands of scienti c images. In addition to the main motivation for this study, a pipeline was created in order to automate the photometry and data reduction processes. A Lomb-Scargle transform was applied to the stellar light curves in order to identify periodic sources. 354 signi cantly periodic stars were identi ed from the 3182 observed stars. Amongst them, two new possible Cephei stars were found together with a possible slowly pulsating B star (SPB), and numerous eclipsing binary systems. By using photometry of this region obtained by Forbes & Short (1996), instrumental magnitudes were transformed to a standard system in order to compare photometry results. From the constructed colour magnitude diagram of the two clusters, it could be seen that some stars, indicated by Forbes & Short (1996) to be cluster members, were in fact eld stars belonging to neither cluster. The reduction and photometry pipeline was implemented successfully on the data set, which also highlighted the importance of instrumentation and correct data analysis procedures. Possible improvements were identi ed in order to overcome di culties experienced during this study.