The Catalina Surveys Periodic Variable Star Catalog


We present ~47,000 periodic variables found during the analysis of 5.4 million variable star candidates within a 20,000 square degree region covered by the Catalina Surveys Data Release-1 (CSDR1). Combining these variables with type-ab RR Lyrae from our previous work, we produce an on-line catalog containing periods, amplitudes, and classifications for ~61,000 periodic variables. By cross-matching these variables with those from prior surveys, we find that > 90% of the ~8,000 known periodic variables in the survey region are recovered. For these sources we find excellent agreement between our catalog and prior values of luminosity, period and amplitude, as well as classification. We investigate the rate of confusion between objects classified as contact binaries and type-c RR Lyrae (RRc’s) based on periods, colours, amplitudes, metalicities, radial velocities and surface gravities. We find that no more than few percent of these variables in these classes are misidentified. By deriving distances for this clean sample of ~5,500 RRc’s, we trace the path of the Sagittarius tidal streams within the Galactic halo. Selecting 146 outer-halo RRc’s with SDSS radial velocities, we confirm the presence of a coherent halo structure that is inconsistent with current N-body simulations of the Sagittarius tidal stream. We also find numerous long-period variables that are very likely associated within the Sagittarius tidal streams system. Based on the examination of 31,000 contact binary light curves we find evidence for two subgroups exhibiting irregular lightcurves. One subgroup presents significant variations in mean brightness that are likely due to chromospheric activity. The other subgroup shows stable modulations over more than a thousand days and thereby provides evidence that the O’Connell effect is not due to stellar spots.