Transcript Astronomy Day 2006: A short presentation on eclipsing binary stars
Astronomy Day 2006 A short presentation on eclipsing binary stars presented by the Dark Ridge Observatory Thomas C. Smith, Director http://www.darkridgeobservatory.org DRO Dark Ridge Observatory (DRO) - West DRO Stars Just what are they? Why do we care? It is recognized as fact by astronomers that well over half of the stars in the universe belong to multiple systems. You might think of our Sun as being an exceptional system that involves only one star and you would be right. ESA/NASA’s SOHO Images DRO Multiple Star Systems Just what makes a multiple system of stars? M-73 Credit to SEDS A multiple star system is any star system in which more than one star is engaged in stable gravitational interaction. Typical multiple systems are binary stars, two stars orbiting each other; binaries can be orbited by a third star, forming a ternary or triple star, and there are more complex cases like binaries orbiting other binaries or ternaries, etc. Some multiple star systems contain as many as eight stars. (source Answer.com) DRO Binary Stars Orbits for binary star systems The Castor binary system Sirius and Companion Excerpts from the University of Tennessee Astronomy 162 course http://csep10.phys.utk.edu/astr162/lect/index.html DRO Eclipsing Binary Stars DRO Observing Eclipses This is the way we view eclipses using a process called photometry DRO Why Are They Studied? The type of eclipsing binary stars that I am studying are called contact or over-contact binaries and these are in the last evolutionary stage of this two-star system. From these stars we can learn about the dynamic properties that exists in stars like the mass transfer process and star spot characteristics. DRO What Might We Find? Another reason that I am interested in these star systems is the potential for the discovery of extra-solar planets that theoretically can exist in stable orbit around the binary star pair. These might be seen through transit observations of very high inclination angle binary stars. After all, they are in near-perfect configuration to observe a planet passing. DRO Questions ? DRO Thank You And good evening!