Graduation Year


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


W.M. Keck Science Department

Second Department


Reader 1

Scot A. C. Gould

Reader 2

Winston Chi-Wei Ou

Reader 3

Jon Swift

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2013 Alexandria Gonzales


Stars with masses roughly less than half a solar mass, M stars, constitute 75% of all stars in the Galaxy. However, due to their enigmatic nature, it remains difficult to measure these stars' physical properties. This project performs such characterization through the investigation of eclipsing binary star systems. By utilizing precise photometric data from NASA's Kepler Mission, we present this study on all M star eclipsing binaries in the Kepler dataset. We modeled our selected targets' light curves using existing code and vetted our sample for prime candidates for radial velocity follow up. Using available time on various telescopes, we obtained radial velocity measurements and are able to determine the effective temperatures of our target sample; a proposal has been submitted for further study with these and other observatories. With this information an absolute mass scale for the eclipsing systems allows us to fully characterize the individual stars in terms of their mass, radius, and temperature, leading us to derived luminosities. Ultimately, we hope to fill the current knowledge gap that concerns this dominant class of planet formation in the galaxy.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.