AAS Meeting #194 - Chicago, Illinois, May/June 1999
Session 104. Stellar Atmospheres and Variability
Oral, Thursday, June 3, 1999, 2:00-3:30pm, Marquette

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[104.02] Reflections on Scattered Light: Monte Carlo Modeling of the Flux and Polarization Curves of \beta Lyrae

J.L. Hoffman (Univ. Wisconsin), B.A. Whitney (Prism Computational Sciences), K.H. Nordsieck (Univ. Wisconsin)

Polarimetry has proven to be a useful observational tool in the study of star-disk systems. In recent years, Monte Carlo radiative transfer methods have often been used in modeling polarimetric measurements, since they allow accurate predictions of flux and polarization via numerical simulation of the interaction of light with matter, even in systems with complex configurations. We have extended these two complementary techniques to the investigation of binary stars by developing a Monte Carlo code that models the flux and polarization phase curves of a binary-disk system. We here present the latest results matching geometrical model configurations with our own spectropolarimetric observations of the Algol binary \beta Lyrae. We are particularly interested in two questions: first, what is the configuration of the extraplanar material in the system? and second, which system component is the source of the light polarized by scattering within the system?

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