NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2010B-0501

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Proposal Information for 2010B-0501


PI: Robert D. Mathieu, University of Wisconsin - Madison, mathieu@astro.wisc.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, 475 N. Charter St., Madison, WI 53706, USA

CoI: Katelyn Milliman, University of Wisconsin - Madison
CoI: Aaron M. Geller, University of Wisconsin - Madison
CoI: Natalie Gosnell, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Title: A Study of The Binary and Anomalous Stellar Populations in Two Intermediate-Aged Open Clusters

Abstract: ``Anomalous'' stars, such as blue stragglers and more recently sub- subgiants, have been an enduring challenge for stellar evolution theory. It is now clear that in star clusters these systems are closely linked to the binary star populations. Furthermore, sophisticated N-body models show that stellar dynamical processes play a central role in the formation of such anomalous stars. These stars trace the interface between the classical fields of stellar evolution and stellar dynamics. We propose to expand our highly successful radial-velocity survey to include two new rich open clusters NGC 7789 (1.8 Gyr, -0.1 dex) and NGC 2506 (2.1 Gyr, -0.4 dex) as part of the WIYN Open Cluster Study (WOCS). Though these two clusters are both of intermediate age and of similar richness, they have quite different blue straggler populations. NGC 2506 has only 10 known blue stragglers, while NGC 7789 has at least 27, among the largest known populations of blue stragglers in an open cluster. Defining the hard-binary populations in these two clusters is critical for understanding the factors that determine blue straggler production rates. Our proposed observations will establish the hard- binary fraction and frequency distributions of orbital parameters (periods, eccentricities, mass-ratios, etc.) for orbital periods approaching the hard-soft boundary, and will provide a comprehensive survey of the blue stragglers and other anomalous stars, including secure cluster memberships and binary properties. These data will then form direct constraints for detailed N-body open cluster simulations from which we will study the impact of the hard-binary population on the production rates and mechanisms of blue stragglers.


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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