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Pulsating variable stars are stars that physically grow and shrink, causing them to periodically change in brightness in the night sky. In most cases, this change occurs very regularly, however some stars exhibit the Blazhko Effect (BE), which causes a gradual increase and decrease in the magnitude and time between brightness peaks. In some stars, this gradual change can itself vary in period and amplitude, which is known as a modulated BE. The cause of the BE is unknown. This research project aims to identify stars with a modulated BE, which may provide clues into its cause. We used the Weighted Wavelet-Z (WWZ) analysis to detect changes in the frequency and amplitude of the brightnesses of stars observed by NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). The WWZ analysis has been scarcely utilized in this specific area of variable star research, and this project shows its usefulness in identifying changes in frequency and amplitude for stars with limited data sets.

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Higher Education | Scholarship of Teaching and Learning

Measuring the Blazhko Effect in RR Lyrae Variable Stars



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