2011 Student Research Conference:
24th Annual Student Research Conference

Investigations into the Origins of the O'Connell Effect in Eclipsing Binary Star Systems
Vijay Koju
Dr. Matthew M. Beaky, Faculty Mentor

An asymmetry in the maxima of the light curve of an eclipsing binary system is known as the O'Connell effect. Astronomers usually explain it by assuming the presence of star spots on one or both stars in the binary system. Circumstellar dust clouds and hot spots are also candidates for explaining the observed asymmetry. We have conducted a population study of eclipsing binaries from the Large and the Small Magellanic Clouds in search of O'Connell effect systems. We also carried out photometric observations on the O'Connell effect systems SW Lacertae, CN Andromedae, and V502 Ophiuchi. We explored relationships between the size of the O'Connell effect and variations in the orbital period of the binary systems. Our investigations indicate that it is unlikely that a single explanation is sufficient to account for this asymmetry, and that star spots, hot spots, and circumstellar dust may all play a role in its origin.

Keywords: eclipsing binary, photometry, O'Connell effect

Topic(s):Astronomy

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 1-5
Location: MG 1096
Time: 9:00

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