Date of Award

Spring 2005

Document Type

Restricted Thesis

Terms of Use

© 2005 Cameron Higby-Naquin. All rights reserved. Access to this work is restricted to users within the Swarthmore College network and may only be used for non-commercial, educational, and research purposes. Sharing with users outside of the Swarthmore College network is expressly prohibited. For all other uses, including reproduction and distribution, please contact the copyright holder.

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Physics & Astronomy Department

First Advisor

Eric L.N. Jensen


Young stars, those less than 100 Myr old, provide much information about the formation of planetary systems. The study of such objects is impossible without reliable indicators of stellar youth. The most reliable age diagnostic, placing candidate stars on an HR diagram, hinges on knowing the luminosity. We avoid the need to measure this quantity by finding the star's surface gravity instead. Using computer-generated spectra, we compare individual spectral lines in our data to models of known gravity. By minimizing the chi-square of the difference between the fluxes of the data and the model, we arrive at a best-fit value of log g, Teff , and v sin i . The gravity value also fixes the star's position on an HR diagram as either above the main-sequence, or on it. We find that this technique is, by itself, insufficient to constrain log g well enough to determine the approximate age of stars.