News & Events

Mars Hill University Hosts Astronomy Program

Dr. Donald F. Collins, emeritus professor of physics from Warren Wilson College, will present an astronomy program at Mars Hill University on March 8, at 7 pm, in room 135 of Ferguson Math & Science Center. The presentation is free and open to the public.

The full title of the program is "Research in variable star observations – especially a little-known variable: b Persei – from the College View Observatory." Collins' presentation will examine the types of processes involved that cause stars to vary their luminosity. Particular attention will be given to b Persei, a star in the constellation Perseus.

According to Collins' research, observations from College View Observatory (near Warren Wilson College) have detected the first ever observed major dimming of b Persei – a process that repeats every 701 days due to the passage of an orbiting star in front of b Persei. Collins, in cooperation with members of the American Association of Variable Star Observers from around the globe, have made a successive set of observations during a second recorded eclipse, 701 days after the first. From these observations, Collins and his fellow researchers have come to understand more about the nature of the three stars of the triple system.

This program is part of the March meeting of the local chapter of Sigma Xi – The Scientific Research Society. Faculty and students from UNC-Asheville, Brevard College, Mars Hill University, and Warren Wilson College are members of the UNC-Asheville chapter of Sigma Xi.

For more information about the program, please contact Dr. Scott Pearson, professor of biology and dean of the Division of Mathematics and Natural Science at MHU, at 828 689-1402 or spearson@mhu.edu.