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Unformatted text preview: The Masses of Stars Remember these rules: 1. Stars stay on the opposite side of the center of mass from each other. 2. The massive star moves slower than the low-mass star. 3. The center of mass is also the point where mass1 velocity1 = mass2 velocity2 Using the distance of the center of mass from each star, you can proportion out the total mass to each star. Here are the steps to figure out each star's mass: 1. Find the total mass (mass star A + mass star B) from Kepler's 3rd law. 2. Find the proportion of each star's mass to the total mass from the center of mass: (mass star A)/(mass star B) = (C.M. distance B)/(C.M. distance A) or (mass star A)/(mass star B) = (velocity star B)/(velocity star A). Note which star's values are on top of the fraction and which are on the bottom! Simplify the fraction down as far as possible. 3. If you set the mass of star A = (mass of star B)(the fraction of the previous step) and substitute this for the mass of star A in the first step (Kepler's 3rd law step), you will find...
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- Fall '10