Date of Award

Summer 8-11-2011

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Douglas R. Gies

Second Advisor

Todd J. Henry

Third Advisor

Harold A. McAlister

Fourth Advisor

Jerome A. Orosz

Fifth Advisor

Murad Sarsour

Sixth Advisor

Russel J. While

Abstract

This is a spectroscopic and photometric study of suspected close binary systems among the massive stars. The stars studied here include stars with temperatures ranging from 45,000 Kelvin (K) to 15,000 K, corresponding to spectral types ranging from O3 V to B5 III, masses between 47 Solar Masses and 5 Solar Masses, and absolute V magnitudes from -6.28 to -2.0. I categorize 30 targets according to my spectroscopic observations into groups with no radial velocity variability, single-lined, and double-lined variability. My analysis of the 18 constant velocity stars results in estimates of stellar effective temperature, Teff, gravity, log g, projected rotational velocity, v sin i, and spectral classification. Analyzing single-lined systems, I find the same stellar parameters for five more systems, and also present the first orbits for these systems. I also explore the probable characteristics of the unseen companions in these systems. Three double-lined systems, two eclipsing and one with an ellipsoidal variation in the light curve, are fully analyzed, and I present important astrophysical parameters for each of these systems, including stellar masses, radii, ages, and distances to each system. The masses are accurate to 4.3% and 3.6% for the primary and secondary for LH 54-425, 2.1% and 1.6% for HI Mon, and 1.1% and 0.6% for HD 42401. Two more double-lined systems are studied, and preliminary results are presented. Photometric observations are analyzed for 56 targets from the All Sky Automated Survey in order to facilitate spectroscopic observations at key points in the binary orbit where spectral features of both components will be well separated. New spectroscopic observations of these eclipsing binaries with my computed ephemerides will allow us to obtain double-lined orbital elements and determine their masses, radii, ages, and distances. These computed parameters will then allow for comparison with theoretical stellar models, and a better understanding of the evolution of massive stars.

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