Christine Clement's Research at Las Campanas, Chile
I began observing with the University
of Toronto's telescope in Chile in 1972 and continued until 1997 when
the facility was closed.
Having access to one telescope for such a long time made it
possible for me to make important contributions to the study of
variable stars in globlar clusters, particularly RR Lyrae variables.
Initially I used photographic plates to record
the data. This involved spending the nights in the dome and the days
in the dark room. Then when I returned to Toronto, hours were spent
with measuring machines.
Fortunately, developments in technology since the 1970s
have made data acquisition much more efficient.
Beginning in the early 1990s, I switched to CCD detectors. With these
electronic devices, the data can be transferred directly from
the telescope to a computer.
It is no longer necessary to spend hours developing and measuring
Some Highlights of My Las Campanas Research
I played a major role in identifying
double-mode RR Lyrae variables in globular clusters. Theoretical
models based on my results provided important information regarding
the masses of RR Lyrae variables in different clusters.
- My early work on
Fourier analysis of RR Lyrae light curves showed how certain Fourier
coefficients are correlated with chemical abundance. As a result,
Fourier analysis is often used as a method for estimating the metal
abundance of a globular cluster.
- My continuous observations of periodic variable stars in
globular clusters throughout the 1970s and 1980s were a valuable
resource for determining whether or not the stars' evolution could
be detected by measuring period changes.
My colleagues at the
Konkoly Observatory in Hungary also had a large collection of
globular cluster photographs so we combined our observations
with published data from other sources to carry out a study of
period changes based on more than a century of observations.
Return to Christine Clement's research page.
Return to Christine Clement's home page.