Presentation Title

Determining Binary Star Orbits with Kepler's Equation

Presenter Information

Katelyn AndrewsFollow
Cory Boule

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation

School

School of Sciences and Social Sciences

Discipline

Physics

Mentor

Keith Goodale, Steven Harfenist

Date & Time

April 9th at 10:15 AM - 11:15 AM

Location

David F. Putnam Science Center, Room 282

Abstract

Determining Binary Star Orbits With Kepler’s Equation

Cory Boule, Katelyn Andrews, Andrew Penfield, Ian Puckette, Steven A. Harfenist, and Keith A. Goodale

Keene State College, Keene New Hampshire

Binary stars are two stars that are gravitationally bound in orbit around their center of mass. Orbital positions are characterized by the pair’s separation (their observed angular distance from one another) and position angle (PA, the pair’s relative orientation from North). Observed orbital parameters are obtained from the Washington Double Star catalog for four binary stars and are used to solve Kepler’s equation. This equation was formulated by Johannes Kepler and describes the orbit of two gravitationally bound objects. The orbit calculations are performed in Excel to determine the separation and PA for chosen dates and are plotted to display an entire orbit graphically. For comparison, field measurements are made using a computer aided telescope and analyzed in Adobe Photoshop. The measured separation and PA are then plotted on the same graph along with the calculated values for the same date. Measured results are in good agreement with calculated values.

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Apr 9th, 10:15 AM

Determining Binary Star Orbits with Kepler's Equation

David F. Putnam Science Center, Room 282

Determining Binary Star Orbits With Kepler’s Equation

Cory Boule, Katelyn Andrews, Andrew Penfield, Ian Puckette, Steven A. Harfenist, and Keith A. Goodale

Keene State College, Keene New Hampshire

Binary stars are two stars that are gravitationally bound in orbit around their center of mass. Orbital positions are characterized by the pair’s separation (their observed angular distance from one another) and position angle (PA, the pair’s relative orientation from North). Observed orbital parameters are obtained from the Washington Double Star catalog for four binary stars and are used to solve Kepler’s equation. This equation was formulated by Johannes Kepler and describes the orbit of two gravitationally bound objects. The orbit calculations are performed in Excel to determine the separation and PA for chosen dates and are plotted to display an entire orbit graphically. For comparison, field measurements are made using a computer aided telescope and analyzed in Adobe Photoshop. The measured separation and PA are then plotted on the same graph along with the calculated values for the same date. Measured results are in good agreement with calculated values.