NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2011B-0352

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Proposal Information for 2011B-0352


PI: Scott W. Fleming, Univ. of Florida, scfleming@astro.ufl.edu
Address: Astronomy Department, 211 Bryant Space Science Center, Gainesville, FL 32611, USA

CoI: Jian Ge, Univ. of Florida
CoI: Suvrath Mahadevan, Penn State University
CoI: Zlatan Tsvetanov, Johns Hopkins University

Title: BiRDS in STEREO: High Precision Masses and Radii of Bright Eclipsing Binaries From STEREO

Abstract: BiRDS (\underlineBinary \underlineResearch with \underlineDedicated \underlineSpectroscopy) is a project dedicated towards utilizing spectroscopy to study binary stars found in extrasolar planet surveys. One primary area of research is the mass-radius relationship of K and M dwarfs. Observations have shown that the radii of K and M stars in binaries can be larger than models predict by 10- 20%. This is likely an effect caused by strong magnetic fields in these stars due to tidal spin-up. To test this hypothesis, we propose to perform spectroscopic observations of 25 eclipsing binaries (EBs) that range in orbital period from 2 to 9 days. These EBs have been identified via high cadence, high precision photometry from the STEREO spacecraft. All of these EBs are brighter than V=10, facilitating follow-up observations and determinations of masses and radii to < 3% precision. A range of orbital periods will sample a variety of magnetic field strengths, and thereby allow for an empirical calibration of theoretical stellar models that incorporate magnetic fields into their calculations. A large sample of EBs is required to study magnetic field effects on a range of atmospheric properties, including convection zone depths, in addition to sampling a variety of magnetic field strengths.


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