Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Harold A. McAlister - Committee Chair

Second Advisor

Douglas R. Gies - Committee Member

Third Advisor

Russel J. White - Committee Member

Fourth Advisor

Todd J. Henry - Committee Member


This thesis presents an engineering project measuring the effective wavelength of the CHARA Classic beam combiner on the CHARA Array. Knowing the actual effective wavelength of light observed is very important because that value is necessary for determining astrophysical parameters of stars. Currently, the value used for CHARA Classic data comes from a model of the system and is based on numbers published by the manufacturer of the filter; it is not derived from measurements done on the system directly. We use two data collection methods to observe standard stars of different spectral types and calculate the wavelength of light recorded by the instrument for each star. We find the best estimate of the effective wavelength for the CHARA Classic K′-band configuration to be 2.138±0.003μm, a 0.56% decrease from the previously adopted value of 2.150μm. Our result establishes the first estimate of the uncertainty in the effective wavelength.