Double Stars seem simple on the surface. These are two (or more) stars visibly orbiting around each other over a fairly long period of time. Their positions relative to each other (the position angle and the angular distance) change slowly over time, such that these motions can be tracked over the decades and centuries that astronomers have been observing them. This (relative) simplicity makes it a very fertile topic to introduce students to their first research project where a meaningful measurement can be made and published in the literature. The outcomes and impacts on the students are communicated elsewhere in the conference, but in this workshop we will have a short active explore and measurement of some of the data that these students have taken as well as the publication process.
The workshop will end with an exploration of some of the new technologies, particularly speckle photometry outlined belwo, allowing students to explore binaries at much shorter separations than previously possible.
Speckle Interferometry of Fast Orbiters for Student Research Projects
Close double stars (<1.0” separation) can have orbits measured in years or decades making especially interesting targets. Many “undiscovered” and poorly measured binary systems fall in this region but cannot be separated by small (<1.0m) telescopes and CCDs. Students using speckle interferometry with low cost equipment modifications to small systems and free software can measure them and write a scientific paper. A new automated speckle program provides the opportunity to do these projects using the data you collect from four observatories designed for speckle interferometry.