1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Homework Help: Calculating the motion of binary stars

  1. Oct 23, 2008 #1
    This is more of general question, but i am working on a project that involves binary stars. Basically, i am capturing data through a telescope, and i was wondering if i had all the parameters, how could i project, or calculate the motion of a binary star in terms of speed and direction.
    Any hint would be appreciated, if you think i should approach this differently, please let me know.

    I was looking at Kepler's laws to understand the motion of the stars, and i have a general idea about them.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 24, 2008 #2


    User Avatar
    Homework Helper

    Hi hragsarkissia,

    I don't understand what you have at this point. Are you saying you have already calculated some general parameters from the measurements, or are you asking how to use the raw measurements?
  4. Oct 25, 2008 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    If you are actually observing binary stars through a smallish telescope, there really isn't much you can determine about their motion by observation. The ones you can split in a telescope are hugely far apart and their rotation period is measured in hundreds or thousands of years, at least. You can get a period for eclipsing binaries, but not much else. Algol is famous. Other than that a lot of information about binaries comes from spectroscopy (doppler shift).
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook