855 research outputs found

    Unconstrained Astrometric Orbits for Hipparcos Stars with Stochastic Solutions

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    A considerable number of astrometric binaries whose positions on the sky do not obey the standard model of mean position, parallax and linear proper motion, were observed by the Hipparcos satellite. Some of them remain non-discovered, and their observational data have not been properly processed with the more adequate astrometric model that includes nonlinear orbital motion. We develop an automated algorithm based on "genetic optimization", to solve the orbital fitting problem with no prior information about the orbital elements is available (from, e.g., spectroscopic data or radial velocity monitoring). We test this method on Hipparcos stars with known orbital solutions in the catalog, and further apply it to stars with stochastic solutions, which may be unresolved binaries. At a confidence level of 99%, orbital fits are obtained for 65 stars, most of which have not been known as binary. A few of the new probable binaries with A-type primaries with periods 444-2015 d are chemically peculiar stars, including Ap and \lambda Boo type. The anomalous spectra of these stars are explained as admixture of the light from the unresolved, sufficiently bright and massive companions. We estimate the apparent orbits of four stars which have been identified as members of the 300 Myr-old UMa kinematic group. Another four new nearby binaries may include low-mass M-type or brown dwarf companions. Similar astrometric models and algorithms can be used for binary stars and planet hosts observed by SIM PlanetQuest and Gaia

    HIPPARCOS Astrometric Orbit and Evolutionary Status of HR 6046

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    The previously known, 6-yr spectroscopic binary HR 6046 has been speculated in the past to contain a compact object as the secondary. A recent study has re-determined the orbit with great accuracy, and shown that the companion is an evolved but otherwise normal star of nearly identical mass as the primary, which is also a giant. The binary motion was detected by the Hipparcos mission but was not properly accounted for in the published astrometric solution. Here we use the Hipparcos intermediate data in combination with the spectroscopic results to revise that solution and establish the orbital inclination angle for the first time, and with it the absolute masses M(A) = 1.38 [-0.03,+0.09] M(Sun) and M(B) = 1.36 [-0.02,+0.07] M(Sun). Aided by other constraints, we investigate the evolutionary status and confirm that the primary star is approaching the tip of the red-giant branch, while the secondary is beginning its first ascent.Comment: To appear in The Astronomical Journal. 8 pages including tables and figures, in emulateapj forma

    Double stars with wide separations in the AGK3 - I. Components that are themselves spectroscopic binaries

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    Wide binaries are tracers of the gravity field of the Galaxy, but their study requires some caution. A large list of common proper motion stars selected from the third Astronomischen Gesellschaft Katalog (AGK3) was monitored with the CORAVEL (for COrrelation RAdial VELocities) spectrovelocimeter, in order to prepare a sample of physical binaries with very wide separations. 66 stars received special attention, since their radial velocities (RV) seemed to be variable. These stars were monitored over several years in order to derive the elements of their spectroscopic orbits. In addition, 10 of them received accurate RV measurements from the SOPHIE spectrograph of the T193 telescope at the Observatory of Haute-Provence. For deriving the orbital elements of double-lined spectroscopic binaries (SB2), a new method was applied, which assumed that the RV of blended measurements are linear combinations of the RV of the components. 13 SB2 orbits were thus calculated. The orbital elements were eventually obtained for 52 spectroscopic binaries (SB), two of them making a triple system. 40 SB received their first orbit and the orbital elements were improved for 10 others. In addition, 11 SB were discovered with very long periods for which the orbital parameters were not found. The median period of the 40 first orbits is 1 yr, and several SB should be resolved or should receive an astrometric orbit in future, providing the masses of the components. In addition, it appeared that HD 153252 has a close companion, which is a candidate brown dwarf with a minimum mass of 50 Jupiter masses. The final selection of wide binaries and the derivation of their statistical properties will be presented in a second pape

    The Galactic disk mass-budget : II. Brown dwarf mass-function and density

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    In this paper, we extend the calculations conducted previously in the stellar regime to determine the brown dwarf IMF in the Galactic disk. We perform Monte Carlo calculations taking into account the brown dwarf formation rate, spatial distribution and binary fraction. Comparison with existing surveys seems to exclude a power-law MF as steep as the one determined in the stellar regime below 1 \msol and tends to favor a more flatish behaviour. Comparison with methane-dwarf detections tends to favor an eventually decreasing form like the lognormal or the more general exponential distributions determined in the previous paper. We calculate predicting brown dwarf counts in near-infrared color diagrams and brown dwarf discovery functions. These calculations yield the presently most accurate determination of the brown dwarf census in the Galactic disk. The brown dwarf number density is comparable to the stellar one, nBD≃n⋆≃0.1n_{BD}\simeq n_\star\simeq 0.1 pc−3^{-3}. The corresponding brown dwarf mass density, however, represents only about 10% of the stellar contribution, i.e. \rho_{BD}\simle 5.0\times 10^{-3} \mvol. Adding up the local stellar density determined previously yields the density of star-like objects, stars and brown dwarfs, in the solar neighborhood \rho_\odot \approx 5.0\times 10^{-2} \mvol.Comment: 39 pages, Latex file, uses aasms4.sty, to be published in ApJ, corrected version with correct figure

    High Orbital Eccentricities of Extrasolar Planets Induced by the Kozai Mechanism

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    One of the most remarkable properties of extrasolar planets is their high orbital eccentricities. Observations have shown that at least 20% of these planets, including some with particularly high eccentricities, are orbiting a component of a wide binary star system. The presence of a distant binary companion can cause significant secular perturbations to the orbit of a planet. In particular, at high relative inclinations, a planet can undergo a large-amplitude eccentricity oscillation. This so-called "Kozai mechanism" is effective at a very long range, and its amplitude is purely dependent on the relative orbital inclination. In this paper, we address the following simple question: assuming that every host star with a detected giant planet also has a (possibly unseen, e.g., substellar) distant companion, with reasonable distributions of orbital parameters and masses, how well could secular perturbations reproduce the observed eccentricity distribution of planets? Our calculations show that the Kozai mechanism consistently produces an excess of planets with very high (e >0.6) and very low (e < 0.1) eccentricities. The paucity of near-circular orbits in the observed sample cannot be explained solely by the Kozai mechanism, because, even with high enough inclinations, the Kozai mechanism often fails to produce significant eccentricity perturbations when there are other competing sources of orbital perturbations on secular timescales, such as general relativity. On the other hand, the Kozai mechanism can produce many highly eccentric orbits. Indeed the overproduction of high eccentricities observed in our models could be combined with plausible circularizing mechanisms (e.g., friction from residual gas) to create more intermediate eccentricities (e=0.1-0.6).Comment: 24 pages, 6 figures, ApJ, in press, minor changes to reflect the accepted versio

    Five New Transits of the Super-Neptune HD 149026

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    We present new photometry of HD 149026 spanning five transits of its "super-Neptune" planet. In combination with previous data, we improve upon the determination of the planet-to-star radius ratio: R_p/R_star = 0.0491^{+0.0018}_{-0.0005}. We find the planetary radius to be 0.71 +/- 0.05 R_Jup, in accordance with previous theoretical models invoking a high metal abundance for the planet. The limiting error is the uncertainty in the stellar radius. Although we find agreement among four different ways of estimating the stellar radius, the uncertainty remains at 7%. We also present a refined transit ephemeris and a constraint on the orbital eccentricity and argument of pericenter, e cos(omega) = -0.0014 +/- 0.0012, based on the measured interval between primary and secondary transits.Comment: To appear in ApJ [19 pages

    Survey for Transiting Extrasolar Planets in Stellar Systems: III. A Limit on the Fraction of Stars with Planets in the Open Cluster NGC 1245

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    We analyze a 19-night photometric search for transiting extrasolar planets in the open cluster NGC 1245. An automated transit search algorithm with quantitative selection criteria finds six transit candidates; none are bona fide planetary transits. We characterize the survey detection probability via Monte Carlo injection and recovery of realistic limb-darkened transits. We use this to derive upper limits on the fraction of cluster members with close-in Jupiter-radii, RJ, companions. We carefully analyze the random and systematic errors of the calculation. For similar photometric noise and weather properties as this survey, observing NGC 1245 twice as long results in a tighter constraint on "Hot Jupiter", HJ, companions than observing an additional cluster of similar richness as NGC 1245 for the same length of time as this survey. This survey observed ~870 cluster members. If 1% of stars have 1.5 RJ HJ companions, we expect to detect one planet for every 5000 dwarf stars observed for a month. To reach a ~2% upper limit on the fraction of stars with 1.5 RJ HJ companions, we conclude a total sample size of ~7400 dwarf stars observed for at least a month will be needed. Results for 1.0 RJ companions, without substantial improvement in the photometric precision, will require a small factor larger sample size.Comment: 24 pages, 15 figures, submitted A

    The Best Brown Dwarf Yet?: A Companion to the Hyades Eclipsing Binary V471 Tau

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    We have carried out an analysis of about 160 eclipse timings spanning over 30 years of the Hyades eclipsing binary V471 Tauri that shows a long-term quasi-sinusoidal modulation of its observed eclipse arrival times. The O-Cs have been analyzed for the ``light-time'' effect that arises from the gravitational influence of a tertiary companion. The presence of a third body causes the relative distance of the eclipsing pair to the Earth to change as it orbits the barycenter of the triple system. The result of the analysis of the eclipse times yields a light-time semi-amplitude of 137.2+/-12.0 s, an orbital period of P_3 = 30.5+/-1.6 yr and an eccentricity of e_3 = 0.31+/-0.04. The mass of the tertiary component is M_3 sin i_3 = 0.0393+/-0.0038 Mo when a total mass of 1.61+/-0.06 Mo for V471 Tau is adopted. For orbital inclinations i_3 > 35 deg, the mass of the third body would be below the stable hydrogen burning limit of M = 0.07 Mo and it thus would be a brown dwarf. In the next several years (near maximum elongation), it should be feasible to obtain IR images and spectra of V471 Tau C that, when combined with the known mass, age, distance, and [Fe/H], will serve as a benchmark for understanding the physical properties and evolution of brown dwarfs.Comment: 9 pages, 3 figures, accepted for publication in ApJ Letter

    Substellar Companions to Main Sequence Stars: No Brown Dwarf Desert at Wide Separations

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    We use three field L and T dwarfs which were discovered to be wide companions to known stars by the Two Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS) to derive a preliminary brown dwarf companion frequency. Observed L and T dwarfs indicate that brown dwarfs are not unusually rare as wide (Delta >1000 A.U.) systems to F-M0 main-sequence stars (M>0.5M_sun, M_V<9.5), even though they are rare at close separation (Delta <3 A.U.), the ``brown dwarf desert.'' Stellar companions in these separation ranges are equally frequent, but brown dwarfs are >~ 10 times as frequent for wide than close separations. A brown dwarf wide-companion frequency as low as the 0.5% seen in the brown dwarf desert is ruled out by currently-available observations.Comment: ApJL, in pres