AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 6. Binary Stars
Display, Monday, January 7, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[6.20] Determination of Orbital Parameters for Visual Binary Stars Using a Fourier-Series Approach

D.E. Brown (Lehigh University and Brigham Young University), J.R. Prager, G.G. DeLeo, G.E. McCluskey, Jr. (Lehigh University)

We expand on the Fourier transform method of Monet (ApJ 234, 275, 1979) to infer the orbital parameters of visual binary stars, and we present results for several systems, both simulated and real. Although originally developed to address binary systems observed through at least one complete period, we have extended the method to deal explicitly with cases where the orbital data is less complete. This is especially useful in cases where the period is so long that only a fragment of the orbit has been recorded. We utilize Fourier-series fitting methods appropriate to data sets covering less than one period and containing random measurement errors. In so doing, we address issues of over-determination in fitting the data and the reduction of other deleterious Fourier-series artifacts. We developed our algorithm using the MAPLE mathematical software code, and tested it on numerous "synthetic" systems, and several real binaries, including Xi Boo, 24 Aqr, and Bu 738.

This work was supported at Lehigh University by the Delaware Valley Space Grant Consortium and by NSF-REU grant PHY-9820301.

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