Presentation Title

Determining The Separation And Position Angles Of Orbiting Binary Stars: Comparison Of Three Methods

Mentor

Keith Goodale and Steven Harfenist

Location

L. P. Young Student Center – Lantern And East Dining Rooms

Abstract

Binary stars are two stars that are gravitationally bound in orbit about one another. In fact, the majority of stars in the universe belong to binary or multiple star systems. Studying binary stars is important because measurements of their orbits provide astronomers with the easiest and most precise method to determine their masses. Due to the large number of binary systems and their continually changing positions, it is of great importance for measurements to be updated periodically. The US Naval Observatory maintains a catalog of all known binary stars called the Washington Double Star catalog. This catalog encourages and, to a great degree, relies on amateur astronomers to make the measurements. Students spent the Fall Semester 2014 learning how to assemble and use a telescope to make measurements and analyze data describing several different binary systems using three separate methods. The results compare well with cataloged values.

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Apr 11th, 4:15 PM Apr 11th, 5:15 PM

Determining The Separation And Position Angles Of Orbiting Binary Stars: Comparison Of Three Methods

L. P. Young Student Center – Lantern And East Dining Rooms

Binary stars are two stars that are gravitationally bound in orbit about one another. In fact, the majority of stars in the universe belong to binary or multiple star systems. Studying binary stars is important because measurements of their orbits provide astronomers with the easiest and most precise method to determine their masses. Due to the large number of binary systems and their continually changing positions, it is of great importance for measurements to be updated periodically. The US Naval Observatory maintains a catalog of all known binary stars called the Washington Double Star catalog. This catalog encourages and, to a great degree, relies on amateur astronomers to make the measurements. Students spent the Fall Semester 2014 learning how to assemble and use a telescope to make measurements and analyze data describing several different binary systems using three separate methods. The results compare well with cataloged values.