Philip will be presenting a talk on 'The Science of Variable Stars and Transient Sources'.
Many astronomical sources vary in brightness, for a wide variety of reasons, e.g. pulsating stars, exploding stars and quasars. The 1-dimensional time series contains a wealth of physical information that has been used to measure the size of the universe, to detect and characterise new solar systems and to study the structure and history of our Milky Way galaxy. Major new "big data" time domain projects such as VVV, LSST and TESS are seeking to further advance the field, requiring us to develop new methods to classify the vast number of variable sources and search for new types of behaviour. Astronomical time series datasets tend to be unevenly sampled and to have non-uniform uncertainties, influenced by correlated noise. Philip will introduce the field, outline some of the existing tools developed by astronomers to analyse periodic and non-periodic variables and indicate some of the new approaches being developed.