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Project A: Binary Stars

Introduction

This is the pre-calculus based project where you work in teams of two to analyze data from a binary star system to determine the nature of its constituent stars.  The binary star systems are composed of a visible Main Sequence primary star, and an unseen companion. Your task is to analyze the data and determine the nature of the unseen companion (it’s either a white dwarf, neutron star, or black hole). You detect no high-energy emissions from the unseen companion (i.e. no UV, EUV, x-rays, gamma rays), though you may detect some from the primary star. Assume that the stars in the binary are orbiting essentially edge-on to us, though no eclipsing is detected. Finally, assume the orbits are circular.

You will need to use your understanding of astronomical theory to determine the nature of the companion star. You may consult your notes, use your textbooks, the internet, and work with your partner to analyze the data.

The Data

Attached below you will find two data files: Binary1-Data.csv, Binary2-Data.csv.

The files contain two sets of data. Both sets of data describe the visible main sequence star in the binary system. 

  • One set of data provides the measured value of the hydrogen alpha emission line with Doppler shift
  • The second set of data provides the spectrum of the visible star.

The teams should work on Binary1 first. Once you have that data analyzed, it should be a simple matter to examine binary 2 after you have good results for binary-1, if time permits. Download the files and open them in MS Excel. You are welcome to continue working with them in excel (save as an XLSX file) or copy the data to a google sheet that you share with your partner.

It’s highly recommended that you take detailed notes on your work, recording your thoughts, ideas, and the steps you performed on the data, and justifying it using the theory we’ve studied in class. You will need to detail your analysis in your deliverable. Your notes will be crucial to your success.

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Binary-1 Data.csv
(8k)
Nikhil Joshi,
Mar 29, 2016, 11:16 AM
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Binary-2 Data.csv
(8k)
Nikhil Joshi,
Mar 29, 2016, 11:16 AM