NASA TESS Mission: Eclipsing Binaries Among Herbig Ae/Be Stars – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

NASA TESS Mission: Eclipsing Binaries Among Herbig Ae/Be Stars

Marlee Rapp

Marlee Rapp

Pronouns: she/her

Research Mentor(s): John Monnier, Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Astronomy, College of Literature, Science, and the Arts
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 6 (4pm-4:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 2
Presenter: 2

Event Link


Herbig stars of spectral type Ae/Be are young stars of 1.5-10 solar masses. Current models of young stars’ temperatures and radii as a function of mass are not well calibrated. In binary star systems, a transit, or a periodic dip in apparent brightness of the star, occurs when the one star passes in front of the other star, blocking some of the light of the primary star, creating an eclipse effect. These eclipsing binary star systems allow us to obtain estimates for parameters of the orbiting objects such as the masses, radii, orbital period, orbital inclination, semi-major axis, et cetera. Obtaining these parameters for these young stars will allow for better calibration for models of young stars’ properties. In general, researching stars unlike our sun is important because it gives the context that our solar system exists in and gives us a broader understanding of the universe. We reduced, analyzed, and modeled the Herbigs’ light curves, which are plots of flux versus time, from the NASA TESS mission. We identified and examined the light curves of stars that showed evidence of orbiting companions using Python packages such as Batman, Eleanor, and Phoebe. Using these packages we were able to create and fit model light curves to the data and obtain estimates of parameters for our stars of interest.

Authors: Marlee Rapp, John Monnier
Research Method: Computer Programming

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