2009 Student Research Conference:
22nd Annual Student Research Conference

Four-Color Photometry of Eclipsing Binary Systems Exhibiting the O'Connell Effect
Nicholas J. Wilsey
Dr. Matthew M. Beaky, Faculty Mentor

An eclipsing binary (EB) is a variable star system whose brightness oscillations are caused by two stars orbiting each other along our line of sight, resulting in periodic eclipses. The characteristic shape of an EB light curve consists of two out-of-eclipse maxima and two mid-eclipse minima. Generally, the minima are not equally deep, reflecting a temperature difference between the two stars, but it is reasonable to expect the maxima to be equally high. However, many EB light curves exhibit unequally high maxima, a feature known as the O'Connell effect. So far, this simple asymmetry has not been convincingly explained, but most theories attribute the effect to dynamic phenomena such as migrating starspots or swirling circumstellar gas and dust. Complete four-color photometric light curves for several poorly studied O'Connell effect systems have been constructed in an attempt to better understand the asymmetry: V573 Lyrae, V1038 Herculis, ZZ Pegasi, and V505 Cygni.

Keywords: astronomy, variable, star, light curve, o'connell effect, photometry, asymmetry, eclipsing binary

Topic(s):Physics

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 38-1
Location: VH 1412
Time: 1:15

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