Project level: Summer/Winter

The mass of a star is a fundamental property governing its evolution. The evolution of single stars is well understood, but more than 50% of stars in the Galaxy are in binary or multiple systems. Very close binary stars transfer mass from one star to the other. Mass exchange can be very rapid at some stages within close binaries, so the evolution of such stars differs from that of widely separated binaries and single stars. We will analyse optical spectroscopy of several binary stars to calculate their masses and radii and seek evidence for any mass flow between them. This will use data from the ANU 2.3m Telescope.

Expected outcomes: This project will train students in independent research, report writing, data analysis and computing skills.

Suitable for: Students with interest in astrophysics.

Other important details: Interested students will need to be familiar with Python and UNIX command line languages.

Project availability: Available

Project members

Professor David Moriarty

Honorary Senior Fellow
School of Mathematics and Physics