This award funds an observational effort at the University of Hawaii that will explore stellar variability on various time scales in the Orion Cluster, is a nearby star forming region. The project will build upon previous NSF investments in the VYSOS (Variable Young Stars Optical Survey) project. The focus of this proposal is to understand how brightness variations reveal circumstellar accretion, giant star spots, magnetic flares, occultations by orbiting dust condensations, and eclipses by companions. The brightness variations will be compared to the predictions of magnetohydrodynamic codes that model the accretion process in young stars.
The project will support education and training of undergraduate and graduate students, along with education and outreach efforts to local high school students, some of whom will also be involved directly in the project. The data and data products from this survey available to the astronomical community in collaboration with the US Virtual Observatory.