Why Data Derived from Eclipsing Binaries Are Important

The early- and mid-age evolution of a star depends almost uniquely on its mass and its initial chemical composition. Therefore, in order to test stellar structure and stellar evolution theories, it is desirable to have as many accurate masses and other star parameters as possible. In addition, these data help to improve our understanding of such exotic objects as X-ray16 binaries, novae, and Wolf-Rayet stars. Unfortunately, despite much progress, far too few accurate masses are available, especially for stars of early (O and B) spectral type (Popper 1980). These very hot stars are important in order to understand the upper main sequence. They are of special interest because they undergo mass loss due to stellar winds. Knowledge of age and composition is basic to understanding the evolution of a star. Such information is sometimes available for members of star clusters. A great wealth of knowledge can be gained whenever binaries in clusters can be successfully analyzed. The cluster membership

16 X-ray binaries are interacting close binary systems which contain a neutron star or a black hole [Krautter (1997)]. They are discovered on the basis of their strong X-ray emission which is of the order of 1028-1031 W.

links age with mass, luminosity, and radius of each component, and if the chemical composition is known, this potent combination allows detailed testing of stellar evolution theory.

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