AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 88. Undergraduate Astronomy Instruction, Labs and Research
Poster, Wednesday, January 8, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[88.10] Advanced Undergraduate Computer Based Astronomy Lab. The Astrometric Binary Kruger 60.

M. H. Slovak (LSU)

A challenging computer based lab for astronomy undergraduate students has been developed to determine the masses of the components of the visual binary system Kruger 60 = HD 239960 = BD+56 2783 using archival astrometric observations. The data consist of separations and position angles from 1898 to 1949 (Lippincott 1953; Van de Kamp 1967) of Kruger 60B relative to Kruger 60A covering a complete orbit. After reviewing Kepler's 3rd or Harmonic Law and Newton's revision, they analyze the data using Microsoft Excel to calculate a best fitting elliptical orbit to the relative orbit of Kruger 60B. The importance of deriving stellar masses from such binaries is emphasized by discussing the significance of mass in the role of stellar evolution. This lab is one in a series being designed to provide astronomy majors practical experience in mathematically modeling astronomical data.This research was supported in part by NASA LaSPACE LURA Grant LSU 3115-30-5199.

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