Basic Astrophysics by Dan Maoz

By Dan Maoz

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05 AU. 5% amplitude eclipse of the star’s flux has also been detected, due to the transit of the planet across the face of the star, indicating sin i ≈ 1. Data credit: T. Mazeh et al. 1999, Astrophys. , 532, L55 (in most cases to an unknown factor sin i) in this way. 11 shows an example. These extrasolar planets indeed have masses of order that of Jupiter, but are sometimes in orbits with periods of just a few days, indicating orbital radii of a few hundredths of an AU. In reality, many binary systems are in elliptical, rather than circular orbits.

38, we can solve for M1 and M2 individually. In spectroscopic binaries, we cannot measure directly the separations a, r1 , and r2 . Instead, we can use the amplitudes of the oscillations in line-of-sight velocities deduced from the Doppler shifts. Because the perpendicular to the orbital plane is inclined to the line of sight by an angle i (see Fig. 10), the Doppler velocity amplitudes we measure will be related to the true orbital velocity amplitudes by |v1obs | = |v1 | sin i, |v2obs | = |v2 | sin i.

It is of particular relevance to recall the quantum structure of the hydrogen atom. Hydrogen is the simplest atom, and it is therefore useful for understanding how stellar absorption spectra are produced. Furthermore, most stars are composed primarily of hydrogen; 92% of the atoms, or 75% of the mass, is hydrogen. Almost all of the rest is helium, and the heavier elements contribute only trace amounts. In fact, this elemental makeup is typical of almost all astronomical objects and environments, other than rocky planets like the Earth and some special types of stars.

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