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Binary star systems and extrasolar planets

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dc.contributor.advisor Bernard F. Burke. en_US Muterspaugh, Matthew Ward en_US
dc.contributor.other Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Physics. en_US 2006-11-07T16:45:27Z 2006-11-07T16:45:27Z 2005 en_US 2005 en_US
dc.description Thesis (Ph. D.)--Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dept. of Physics, 2005. en_US
dc.description Includes bibliographical references (p. 121-137). en_US
dc.description.abstract For ten years, planets around stars similar to the Sun have been discovered, confirmed, and their properties studied. Planets have been found in a variety of environments previously thought impossible. The results have revolutionized the way in which scientists understand planet and star formation and evolution, and provide context for the roles of the Earth and our own solar system. Over half of star systems contain more than one stellar component. Despite this, binary stars have often been avoided by programs searching for planets. Discovery of giant planets in compact binary systems would indirectly probe the timescales of planet formation, an important quantity in determining by which processes planets form. A new observing method has been developed to perform very high precision differntial astrometry on bright binary stars with separations in the range of 0.1 - 1.0 arcseconds. Typical measurement precisions over an hour of integration are on the order of 10 micro-arcseconds (as), enabling one to look for perturbations to the Keplerian orbit that would indicate the presence of additional components to the system. This method is used as the basis for a new program to find extrasolar planets. The Palomar High-precision Astrometric Search for Exoplanet Systems (PHASES) is a search for giant planets orbiting either star in 50 binary systems. The goal of this search is to detect or rule out planets in the systems observed and thus place limits on any enhancements of planet formation in binaries. It is also used to measure fundamental properties of the stars comprising the binary, such as masses and distances, useful for constraining stellar models at the 10-3 level. en_US
dc.description.abstract (cont.) This method of differential astrometry is applied to three star systems. Equulei is among the most well-studied nearby binary star systems. Results of its observation have been applied to a wide range of fundamental studies of binary systems and stellar astrophysics. PHASES data are combined with previously published radial velocity data and other previously published differential astrometry measurements to produce a combined model for the system orbit. The distance to the system is determined to within a twentieth of a parsec and the component masses are determined at the level of a percent. n Pegasi is a well-known, nearby triple star system consisting of a "wide" pair with semi-major axis 235 milli-arcseconds, one component of which is a single-line spectroscopic binary (semi-major axis 2.5 milli-arcseconds). Using high-precision differential astrometry and radial velocity observations, the masses for all three components are determined and the relative inclination between the wide and narrow pairs' orbits is found to be 43.8 ± 3.0 degrees, just over the threshold for the three body Kozai resonance. The system distance is determined to a fifth of a parsec, and is consistent with trigonometric parallax measurements. V819 Herculis is a well-studied triple star system consisting of a "wide" pair with 5.5 year period, one component of which is a 2.2-day period eclipsing single-line spectroscopic binary. Differential astrometry measurements from PHASES determine the relative inclination of the short- and long-period orbits. Finally, the prospects for finding planets that simultaneously circle both stars in a binary system are evaluated. Planet searches of this type would represent a complementary investigation to PHASES and contribute similar scientific results. en_US
dc.description.statementofresponsibility by Matthew Ward Muterspaugh. en_US
dc.format.extent 137 p. en_US
dc.format.extent 9904334 bytes
dc.format.extent 10859590 bytes
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf
dc.language.iso eng en_US
dc.publisher Massachusetts Institute of Technology en_US
dc.rights M.I.T. theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission. See provided URL for inquiries about permission. en_US
dc.subject Physics. en_US
dc.title Binary star systems and extrasolar planets en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US Ph.D. en_US
dc.contributor.department Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Dept. of Physics. en_US
dc.identifier.oclc 70136656 en_US

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