- Conference date: 31 Jul-3 Aug 1996
- Location: College Park, Maryland (USA)
Four computer tools are presented that can be used as exercises based on simulations and observations of eclipsing binary stars within an astronomy laboratory course. The first of these, FindEB, is a simulation of the images obtained by an automatic imaging telescope. The problem is to find which of the stars in the field of view is the eclipsing binary star. Several methods, including blink-comparison, are available to the student. The second tool, Find. Period, uses the same data sets as the previous exercise to determine the orbital period of an eclipsing binary star to 6-digits accuracy. Several approaches, including “scatter curves,” are available to the student. The third tool, Binary Star, is a simulation of a binary star in which the student can vary all the orbital parameters and immediately see the effects on the orbit, light curve, radial velocity curve, and H-R diagram. The student may fit the model to real light curves and radial velocity curves as well. The fourth tool, Precision Fit, can be used with a Meade LX200 automated telescope to reliably acquire CCD observations of real eclipsing binary stars in order to accurately measure their light curves. These tools have been used at the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and are available over the Internet or from the author.
- Binary stars
- Eclipsing binaries
- Radial velocities
- Charge coupled devices
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