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Proceedings Paper

Binary star astronomy with optical interferometry
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Paper Abstract

The Mark III Interferometer on Mt. Wilson, a long-baseline optical interferometer, was in daily operation for more that seven years. During that time it achieved milliarcsecond angular resolution for binary star astronomy, with submilliarcsecond accuracy. For the first time many spectroscopic binaries have been resolved, including binaries in which the companion cannot be detected with spectroscopy. The high angular resolution means that the traditional gap between visual and spectroscopic binaries has been decreased by more than an order of magnitude. In order to confirm the performance of the Mark III Interferometer, this paper uses the results of astronomical observations, and compares the Mark III Interferometer with other high-resolution techniques, including astrometry, lunar occultation, photometry, speckle, and spectroscopy. Comparisons for a variety of binary stars among these techniques indicate that long baseline optical interferometry proves a reliable, fully automatic, daily accessible astronomical capability for achieving high resolution, high accuracy, high dynamic range, and high photometric measurement precision for the study of binary stars.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 June 1994
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 2200, Amplitude and Intensity Spatial Interferometry II, (9 June 1994); doi: 10.1117/12.177253
Show Author Affiliations
Xiaopei Pan, California Institute of Technology (United States)
Michael Shao, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
M. Mark Colavita, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2200:
Amplitude and Intensity Spatial Interferometry II
James B. Breckinridge, Editor(s)

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