Presentation #343.13 in the session “Milky Way & Galactic Center”.
The errors in our ability to measure the distance to stars depend upon the method used. A Cephid variable star is used as a standard candle through a known period-luminosity relationship but is less well established if RR Lyrae stars can also be used as standard candles through their own theoretical period-luminosity relationship. The focus of this project was to determine if the distance derived from a theoretical period-luminosity relation matches the distance measured by the GAIA survey using stellar parallax. As part of an Our Solar Siblings online course, the Las Cumbres Observatory network of robotic telescopes was used to obtain images of the stars which were analyzed using the Astrosource software package; this allowed undergraduates at small colleges to do authentic astronomy research. Concerning the star Z Mic, the distance obtained from the period-luminosity relation was found to be in agreement with the GAIA survey, showing that in some cases Lyrae stars can be used as standard candles.