AAS 198th Meeting, June 2001
Session 62. Optical Interferometry II - SIM, TPF
Display, Wednesday, June 6, 2001, 10:00am-7:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[62.14] The MASSIF Effort: Determining Masses for the Milky Way's Residents

T.J. Henry (Georgia State University), G.F. Benedict (McDonald Observatory), O.G. Franz (Lowell Observatory), MASSIF Team

Results will be shown from a six-year effort to determine the masses of solar neighborhood members using the Fine Guidance Sensors (FGSs) on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST). The MASSIF (Masses and Stellar Systems with Interferometry) Team has been following more than a dozen very low mass binary systems with the FGSs to determine accurate astrometric orbital parameters. When combined with spectroscopic orbital data from McDonald Observatory, masses are determined to better than 5% in several cases --- an accuracy seldom achieved for such low mass systems. Using these results, we are now able to provide a detailed map of mass-luminosity relation in the unexplored territory between the smallest stars and the largest brown dwarfs.

The second generation of space astrometry by NASA, the Space Interferometry Mission (SIM), is scheduled for launch in 2009. With an increase in accuracy by a factor of 250 over that achieved with HST-FGS, targets that are fainter and more distant can be observed to determine masses accurate to 1%. MASSIF's SIM Science Team effort to investigate the masses of the Milky Way's residents will be outlined. The goals include efforts to (1) define the mass-luminosity relation in stellar clusters of various ages and metallicities, and (2) explore the exotic members of the Galaxy, such as the massive O stars and their descendants.

This research is supported by the Space Telescope Science Institute (HST) and by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (SIM).

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.chara.gsu.edu/RECONS/. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: thenry@chara.gsu.edu

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