A Study of Southern Spectroscopic Binaries
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The study of spectroscopic binaries is by no means a new area of study. The Doppler shifting of spectral lines as the stars orbit around each other is now able to be measured very precisely. Binary stars give a reliable means of determining stellar parameters such as the mass. A star's mass is one of the most dominant factors in determining its evolution.
Stars for study in this thesis were selected from SB9 (the ninth catalogue of spectroscopic binaries). They were chosen on criteria such as apparent visual magnitude, orbital period, orbital solution grade, equatorial velocity and position. Only stars with poor to average orbital solutions were chosen as it is these orbits which need the most work done.
In total 6 spectroscopic binary systems were chosen for study in this thesis. Four single lined spectroscopic binaries (HD 70958, HD 110318, HD 122223 and HD 141544) and two double line spectroscopic binaries (HD 110317 and HD 148704). Unfortunate observing conditions meant that adequate phase coverage of HD 110317 and HD 110318 was not achieved. Adequate phase coverage of the star HD 122223 was also not achieved but this is likely a result of the period being about three years and not about 207 days as quoted in the catalogue.
Observations were carried out with the HERCULES spectrograph and the 1-metre McLellan telescope at the Mt John University Observatory from December 2007 until September 2008. Radial velocities were than measured from these spectra with HRSP3 and then orbital solutions were derived. Orbital solutions have been derived for the single-lined systems HD 141544 and HD 70958. The precision of HD 141544 was much better than HD 70598. This is because HD 70958 is complicated by differential rotation and possible chromospheric activity. The orbital solution of the double lined system HD 148704 was obtained by using CARTopt and not TODCOR as is common, with good results. HD 122223 is included even though only six spectra were obtained as it will be evident that the current orbital solution should be rejected in favour of the previous solution obtained in 1936 by Christie.
Although the amount of data was not as large as was hoped, significant improvements of the orbital solutions were obtained. The secondary component of HD 148704 had only previously being detected in a very few spectra but now has a good orbital solution. Errors on all parameters have been decreased and tighter limits have been placed on the secondary components of the single lined systems. The mass ratio of the components of HD 148704 was also determined very accurately and calculation of the inclination from photometry may allow accurate masses to be determined.