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Unformatted text preview: solar system , we can deduce the mass of the bright star from the orbital parameters of the dim star. This is in fact the first determination of the mass of a star, and it is the main technique we have today for determining stellar masses. From observation of many binary stars that we have gotten a good idea of the range of star masses. Among other things we find that the sun's mass falls in this range, which adds to our conviction that the sun is a star. Figure 3 below is a logarithmic scale which shows the range of star masses, and where the solar system planets fit in. A logarithmic scale is one in which a fixed spacing on the line corresponds to multiplying by a constant factor (the factor here is 10). Each mass is given relative to the sun. Note the large "empty space" between the smallest stars and Jupiter, the largest planet....
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This note was uploaded on 12/15/2011 for the course AST AST1002 taught by Professor Emilyhoward during the Fall '10 term at Broward College.
- Fall '10