SuperWASP Variable Stars: Classifying Light Curves Using Citizen Science

Thiemann, Heidi B.; Norton, Andrew J.; Dickinson, Hugh J.; McMaster, Adam and Kolb, Ulrich C. (2021). SuperWASP Variable Stars: Classifying Light Curves Using Citizen Science. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 502(1) pp. 1299–1311.



We present the first analysis of results from the SuperWASP Variable Stars Zooniverse project, which is aiming to classify 1.6 million phase-folded light curves of candidate stellar variables observed by the SuperWASP all sky survey with periods detected in the SuperWASP periodicity catalogue. The resultant data set currently contains >1 million classifications corresponding to >500,000 object-period combinations, provided by citizen-scientist volunteers. Volunteer-classified light curves have ∼89 per cent accuracy for detached and semi-detached eclipsing binaries, but only ∼9 per cent accuracy for rotationally modulated variables, based on known objects. We demonstrate that this Zooniverse project will be valuable for both population studies of individual variable types and the identification of stellar variables for follow up. We present preliminary findings on various unique and extreme variables in this analysis, including long period contact binaries and binaries near the short-period cutoff, and we identify 301 previously unknown binaries and pulsators. We are now in the process of developing a web portal to enable other researchers to access the outputs of the SuperWASP Variable Stars project.

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