Date of Award

7-17-2009

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Harold McAlister - Chair

Second Advisor

Douglas Gies

Third Advisor

Gerard van Belle

Fourth Advisor

Nikolaus Dietz

Fifth Advisor

Todd Henry

Sixth Advisor

Paul Wiita

Seventh Advisor

Russel White

Abstract

For the main part of this dissertation, I have executed a survey of nearby, main sequence A, F, and G-type stars with the CHARA Array, successfully measuring the angular diameters of forty-four stars to better than 4% accuracy. The results of these observations also yield empirical determinations of stellar linear radii and effective temperatures for the stars observed. In addition, these CHARA-determined temperatures, radii, and luminosities are fit to Yonsei-Yale isochrones to constrain the masses and ages of the stars. These quantities are compared to the results found in Allende Prieto & Lambert (1999), Holmberg et al. (2007), and Takeda (2007), who indirectly determine these same properties by fitting models to observed photometry. I find that for most cases, the models underestimate the radius of the star by ~12%, while in turn they overestimate the effective temperature by ~ 1.5 - 4%, when compared to my directly measured values, with no apparent correlation to the star's metallicity or color index. These overestimated temperatures and underestimated radii in these works appear to cause an additional offset in the star's surface gravity measurements, which consequently yield higher masses and younger ages, in particular for stars with masses greater than ~ 1.3 M_sol. Alternatively, these quantities I measure are also compared to direct measurements from a large sample of eclipsing binary stars in Andersen (1991), and excellent agreement is seen within both data sets. Finally, a multi-parameter solution is found to fit color-temperature-metallicity values of the stars in this sample to provide a new calibration of the effective temperature scale for these types of stars. Published work in the field of stellar interferometry and optical spectroscopy of early-type stars are presented in Appendix D and E, respectively.

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