We present results from the new Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer (NPOI) – the orbit of the double star Mizar A and measurements of Matar – which are compared to an orbit determined with the predecessor of NPOI, the Mark III Interferometer. Uncertainties of the orbital inclination are between 0.1 and 0.3 degrees; those of the semi-major axis are less than 0.5 percent. We determine the component masses and other parameters of the double star system, including relative photometry, directly through a fit to a combination of interferometric and spectroscopic data. Algorithms were developed to handle any hierarchical stellar system.
We describe plans for the study of spectroscopic double stars with NPOI, which draw from our experience with the Mark III binary program. This program yielded orbits of 26 stars, of which 17 were published with mass determinations of 24 components using spectroscopy. The accuracy of the physical parameters were often limited by the spectroscopy. We show that in order to benefit from the high precision of the interferometric observations, new high-precision spectroscopic observations, combined with improved algorithms for the detection of the secondaries, are required.