Find the distance to a globular cluster.
Here's the short list of globulars which have bright enough horizontal branch stars to consider: Reddenings and formulae for GC distances with RR Lyrae stars are here.
M4: V(HB)=13.4. Also seems to be less concentrated than many. But low, and maybe Antares spurious reflections? 23deg up at 10:20pm
M12: V(HB)=14.7 in Oph. 43 deg up at 10:20pm
M92: V(HB)=15.2 in Herc. 63deg up at 10:20pm
M71: V(HB)=14.5 in Sagittae. Better check reddening. alt=23 at 10:20pm. Also, in dense plane area and contamination a problem.
M5: V(HB)=15.0 in Serpens. very rich in RR Lyrids. alt=54 at 10:20pm. See MNRAS 306(4) 1999 p. 815 for finder charts. Top of the main sequence is at V=18.0; so doing an HR diagram and MS fitting is not do-able. bolometric corrections and more data are at the ApJ article here. [Fe/H]=-1.3. Reddening is here.
Very Short Period Variables:
Delta Scuti's: typical amp 0.02mag. But these are higher amplitude... XX Cygni (m=11.8, p=1.5hr), CY Aqr (m=10.8, p=1.5hr), V1162 Ori (amp=0.15mag), AAVSO targets: YZ Boo (v=10.6), DY Her (v=10.4), V703 Sco (V=7.8), Delta Scuti (amp=.1, V=4.8)
Brightest Beta Lyrae stars
Large list of bright cepheids
Modifying a Meade DSI Pro for photometry: Hopkins Observatory
Finder Charts Sources for Variables.
candidates: W Gem (cep, V=6.95, P=7.914d, amp=0.82d), AW Per (cep), SV Vul (cep), RT Aur (cep, V=5.4, P=3.7282d)
KIC merging binary announced 1/6/17. .pdf
Climate demo in class: water balloon and gas lighter, a'la Josh Willis demo
Write random data generator including linear trend, noise, solar oscillation, and PDO and then let students find "flat spots"