Variable Stars and What They are

These maps show stars visible all year in the northern and southern hemispheres. They also mark the position of interesting objects, such as star clusters and galaxies. To see what is visible, face north in the northern hemisphere and south in the southern hemisphere.

The Variable stars contains pulsating variables, the eclipsing variables and the rotating variables. Toward the end of their lives, stars often pulsate, varying in brightness, temperature and size. Some pairs of stars are so close to each other that they look like a single star. In addition, if their orbits are angled edge-on to the Earth, each start periodically passes in front of its companion. Some stars vary because their surfaces are covered with spots similar to sunspots.

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