Light Curve Software with Graphical User Interface and Visualization

ad unguem (to a fingernail; exactly; nicely done)

In this chapter we summarize the approach and current contributions to this area by a number of authors. Here, however, direction rather than specific packages must be emphasized because this subfield is rapidly changing.

Graphics and visual support1 include the plotting of light curves, graphing of the fit and residuals, providing projected views of the components, and sometimes the distribution of such physical quantities as surface brightness, spots, and prominences. Three-dimensional and virtual reality visualizations will be discussed.

8.1 Binary Maker

Binary Maker is a commercially available software package developed by David Bradstreet (1993); Bradstreet and Steelmans (2004) (Eastern College, Pennsylvania) to visualize light and radial velocity curves and the appearance of the system itself with varying phase. It permits to plot the Roche potentials and the outer and inner Lagrangian surfaces in either Kopal or modified Kopal potentials and the calculation of several quantities among them: the radii of the components in back, side, pole and point facings, surface areas and volumes, mean densities, locations of the Lagrangian points Lp1 and L2p, and the fill-out factor. Most importantly, it computes and plots synthetic light and radial velocity curves. It can also be used to derive the mass ratio from observed radial velocity curves, and other parameters, through trial approximations of light curve fittings to data.

Binary Maker can plot observed light and radial velocity data for comparison with computed light and radial velocity curves. It also computes and plots spectral line profiles at selected phases. Generated light curve and radial velocity curve data points can be simultaneously displayed with the projected three-dimensional view of the system model replete with star spots and in the correct orientation

1 In the late 1990s Dirk Terrell (University of Florida, now at the Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, CO) distributed a Wilson-Devinney program which has a user-friendly I/O interface running under Microsoft Windows.

J. Kallrath, E.F. Milone, Eclipsing Binary Stars: Modeling and Analysis, Astronomy and Astrophysics Library, DOI 10.1007/978-1-4419-0699-1-8, (9 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

(a) The limit of an eclipse of an over-contact system: i = 35.0

(a) The limit of an eclipse of an over-contact system: i = 35.0

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