A revised and expanded version of the widely used Binary Maker program is nearing completion. The DOS version of this program has been incorporated into many curriculums around the world, enabling students to learn the rudiments of light curve analysis. It has also proven to be an excellent tool for the preliminary analysis of light curves, efficiently leading to the determination of initial parameters for differential light curve fitting. The program simultaneously displays the theoretical light and radial velocity curves as well as a revolving 3D model of the binary. Actual light and radial velocity data can be input into the graphs for direct comparison to theory. Completely re-written in Java, the Roche geometry-based program now incorporates eccentric orbits and asynchronous rotation into a modern, completely windows-driven, user-friendly interface. Because it is written in Java, the program now works on PC, Macintosh, and Unix/Linux platforms.
Four windows allow simultaneous display of the light curve, radial velocity curves, 3D image, and user input binary parameters. Each output window can be easily maximized to full screen, and the user has much more control over the appearance of each window than in version 2.0. There is also an Outline function that outputs the binary system with its associated inner and outer Lagrangian surfaces. Hardcopy output of the 3D models, light and radial velocity curves, and outlines are in the form of PostScript files. The program also generates a detailed text output page, which includes a listing of all parameters, the synthetic light and radial velocity curves, as well as absolute parameters for the system where appropriate.
Binary parameter (bmd) files from the DOS version, as well as the light and radial velocity data files, are upwardly compatible with the new program. The new version also allows the three separate star data files (parameters, light curve, and radial velocity curve) to be read in as a single combined ZIP file, greatly enhancing the ability of the program to be used for demonstrations. In addition to the included 100+ datasets of actual binary systems and their light and radial velocity curves, we are also plan to build a collaborative online library of additional binary star datasets accessible to all users of the program. Binary Maker 3.0 is currently planned to be released in the fall of 2003.
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