Colin D. Scarfe
Professor
B.Sc., M.Sc. (Brit. Col.), Ph.D. (Cantab.)

Research Interests 

Observational Astronomy

Binary stars that are resolved by the telescope can have their orbits determined from visual observations, but the stellar masses cannot be found unless the system's distance is known. Those that are not resolved can often be studied spectroscopically, but this leaves ambiguous the orbit's orientation and provides only lower limits to stellar masses. Combination of the two types of observation, for the same system, avoids these difficulties, and thanks to recent advances in techniques for high angular resolution, a rapidly increasing number of binary systems is available for such studies. The low velocity amplitudes and long periods of visually resolved pairs, however, require the use of a spectrograph that is both accurate and stable. Dr. Scarfe makes use of the coude spectrograph of the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory's 1.2 m telescope for studies of the velocity variations of these systems, including several in which one (or both) visually resolved component is itself a close binary star. In order to be sure that the spectrograph is stable, he also makes observations of standard stars, and is contributing to attempts to improve the International Astronomical Union's system of such standards.

Dr. Scarfe is currently (1994-97) serving as president of the I.A.U.'s Commission 30, on radial velocities, and its Division IX, on optical techniques.

Dr. Scarfe is also currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of the I.A.U.'s Commission 42, Bibliography of Close Binaries.

Selected Publications

(from ADS Abstract Service)