NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2009B-0044

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Proposal Information for 2009B-0044


PI: Brian D. Mason, US Naval Observatory, bdm@usno.navy.mil
Address: Astrometry, 3450 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20392-5420, USA

CoI: William I. Hartkopf, US Naval Observatory
CoI: Todd J. Henry, Georgia State University
CoI: Jao Wei-Chun, Georgia State University
CoI: John Subasavage, Georgia State University
CoI: Adric Riedel, Georgia State University
CoI: Jennifer Winters, Georgia State University

Title: Nearby Dwarf Stars: Duplicity, Binarity, and Masses

Abstract: Double stars have proven to be both a blessing and a curse for astronomers since their discovery over two centuries ago. They remain the only reliable source of masses, the most fundamental parameter defining stars. On the other hand, their sobriquet ``vermin of the sky'' is well-earned, due to the complications they present to both observers and theoreticians. These range from non-linear proper motions to stray light in detectors, to confusion in pointing of instruments due to non-symmetric point spread functions, to angular momentum conservation in multiple stars which results in binaries closer than allowed by evolution of two single stars. This proposal is primarily focused on targets where precise astrophysical information is sorely lacking: white dwarfs, red dwarfs, and subdwarfs. The proposed work will refine current statistics regarding duplicity (chance alignments of nearby point sources) and binarity (actual physical relationships), and improve the precisions and accuracies of stellar masses. Several targets support Riedel's and Winters' theses.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



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