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In Kawahara et al. (2018) and Masuda et al. (2019), we reported the discovery of four self-lensing binaries consisting of F/G-type stars and (most likely) white dwarfs whose masses range from 0.2 to 0.6 solar masses. Here we present their updated system parameters based on new radial velocity data from the Tillinghast Reflector Echelle Spectrograph at the Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory, and the Gaia parallaxes and spectroscopic parameters of the primary stars. We also briefly discuss the astrophysical implications of these findings.
The Kepler Mission successfully launched March 6, 2009, beginning its 3.5-year mission to determine the frequency of Earth-size planets in the habitable zones of late-type stars. The brightnesses of over 100,000 stars are currently being monitored for transit events with an expected differential photometric precision of 20 ppm at V=12 for a 6.5-hour transit. The same targets will be observed continuously over the mission duration in order to broaden the detection space to orbital periods comparable to that of Earth. This paper provides an overview of the selection and prioritization criteria used to choose the stars that Kepler is observing from the > 4.5 million objects in the 100 square degree field of view. The characteristics of the Kepler targets are described as well as the implications for detectability of planets in the habitable zone smaller than 2R⊕.
Bioastronomy: Search for Extraterrestrial Life was established as Commission 51 of the IAU in 1982. The objectives of the commission included: the search for planets around other stars; the search for radio transmissions, intentional or unintentional, of extraterrestrial origin; the search for biologically relevant interstellar molecules and the study of their formation processes; detection methods for potential spectroscopic evidence of biological activity; the coordination of efforts in all these areas at the international level and the establishment of collaborative programs with other international scientific societies with related interests. In 2006, Commission 51 was renamed simply Bioastronomy at the IAU General Assembly in Prague, and approved for the next six years, the default extension for an IAU Commission.
Owing to their small masses and radii, Ultracool Dwarfs (UCDs; late-M, L, and T dwarfs) may be excellent targets for planet searches and may afford astronomers the opportunity to detect terrestrial planets in the habitable zone. The precise measurements necessary to detect extrasolar planets orbiting UCDs represent a major challenge. We describe two efforts to obtain precise measurements of UCDs in the Near Infrared (NIR). The first involves the robotic NIR observatory PAIRITEL and efforts to obtain photometric precision sufficient for the detection of terrestrial planets transiting UCDs. The second effort involves precise radial velocity measurements of UCDs in the NIR and a survey undertaken with the NIRSPEC spectrograph on Keck.
We summarize the characteristics of 85 spectroscopic orbits derived from more than two decades of radial-velocity monitoring of stars in the old open cluster M 67, with special emphasis on the blue stragglers and other members that do not fall on the evolutionary tracks expected for isolated single stars.
We review the history of the IAU Radial Velocity Standard Stars and give a status report on recent efforts at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics to establish an absolute velocity zero point for these stars and to improve their usefulness for intercomparing the results from different instruments and observatories.
I review the status of ground-based radial-velocity searches for extrasolar planets and speculate about the new results that can be expected in this field over the coming years. Then I review the plans for astrometric space missions and speculate about the impact that these missions will have on ground-based radial-velocity work, citing the specific examples of extra-solar planet research, the mass-luminosity relation for M dwarfs and metal-poor stars, and Galactic structure and evolution.
What is known about the masses of main-sequence stars from the analysis of binary orbits? Double-lined eclipsing binaries are the main source of very precise stellar masses and radii (e.g. Andersen 1997), contributing more than 100 determinations with better than 2% precision over the range 0.6 to 20 Mʘ. For lower-mass stars we are forced to turn to nearby systems with astrometric orbits (e.g. Henry et al. 1993). Not only is the number of good mass determinations from such systems smaller, but also the precision is generally poorer. We are approaching an era when interferometers should have a major impact by supplying good astrometric orbits for dozens of double-lined systems. Already we are beginning to see the sorts of results to expect from this (e.g. Torres et al. 1997).
Figure 1. Mass vs. absolute V magnitude for eclipsing binaries (circles) and nearby astrometric binaries (squares)
Figure 1 is an updated version of a diagram presented by Henry et al. (1993, their Figure 2). It shows the general run of mass determinations from about 10 Mʘ down to the substellar limit near 0.075 Mʘ. Ninety of the points in Figure 1 are for eclipsing binary masses from Andersen’s review (1991) and are plotted as open circles. The results for eclipsing binaries published since 1991 are plotted as 30 filled circles, adopting the same limit of 2% for the mass precision. In most cases the uncertainties are similar to the size of the symbols. Especially noteworthy is the pair of new points for CM Draconis (Metcalfe et al. 1996) with masses near 0.25 Mʘ. Together with the points for YY Geminorum near 0.6 Mʘ, these are the only M dwarfs that have precise mass determinations. For the most part we are forced to rely on nearby stars with astrometric orbits, to fill in the M dwarf region of the diagram. We have used filled squares in Figure 1 for 29 such systems from Henry et al. (1993), updated using 14 new parallaxes from Hipparcos and 4 from the new Yale Parallax Catalog (1995). Gliese 508 is not included, because it is now known to be a triple, while Gliese 67AB, 570BC, and 623AB are not included because there are not yet any direct measurements of the V magnitude difference for these systems.
Several binary stars detected by the Center for Astrophysics (CfA) radial-velocity surveys were found to be members of triple systems. We present two examples, each requires a different analysis to discover its multiplicity.
One example is G176-46, a double-lined halo star of the Carney & Latham (1987) high proper-motion survey. The secondary star (G176-46b) displays large radial velocity variations, in contrast with the primary (G176-46a), which is constant within the error limits. Figure 1 shows two cross correlations of the stellar spectra against the same calculated template taken at different times, which indicate that only the secondary’s peak changes its position. A similar variation was observed previously for ADS 8811 (Mazeh & Latham 1988).
We have found the secondary radial velocity to vary with a period of 10.44 days, and therefore conclude that Gl76-46b is a member of a short-period binary system. The orbital solution has an amplitude of 38 km s−1 and eccentricity of 0.05.
For the past 9 years we have been monitoring the radial velocities of 13 blue stragglers in the old open cluster M67. For the 9 blue stragglers with rotational velocities no larger than about 100 km s−1 we have used the CfA digital speedometers to measure more than 500 radial velocities. To get reliable velocity correlations we use synthetic rotating templates computed from a grid of Kurucz model atmospheres. Four of the blue stragglers rotate too rapidly to allow successful velocity correlations with the CfA instruments. For three of these we have used a CCD spectrograph at Kitt Peak and similar reduction procedures (Morse et al. 1991.
In 1971 Roger Griffin and Jim Gunn began monitoring the radial velocities of most of the members brighter than the main-sequence turnoff in the old open cluster M67, primarily using the 200-inch Hale Telescope. In 1982 the torch was passed to Dave Latham and Bob Mathieu, who began monitoring many of the same stars with the 1.5-meter Tillinghast Reflector and the Multiple-Mirror Telescope on Mt. Hopkins. We have successively combined these two sets of data, plus some additional CORAVEL velocities kindly provided by Michel Mayor, to obtain 20 years of time coverage (e.g. Mathieu et al. 1986). Among the stars brighter than magnitude V = 12.7 we have already published orbits for 22 spectroscopic binaries (Mathieu et al. 1990). At Mt. Hopkins an extension of this survey to many of the cluster members down to magnitude V = 15.5 has already yielded thirteen additional orbital solutions, with the promise of many more to come.
For a sample of halo binaries, we find that the transition between circular and eccentric orbits occurs at a period of at least 18.7 days. This is consistent with the Goldman & Mazeh theory of tidal circularization on the main sequence.
For almost 400 members of M67 we have accumulated about 5,000 precise radial velocities. Already we have orbital solutions for more than 32 spectroscopic binaries in M67. Many of these orbits were derived by combining the Palomar and CfA observations, thus extending the time coverage to more than 20 years. The distribution of eccentricity versus period shows evidence for tidal circularization on the main sequence. The transition from circular orbits is fairly clean. Excluding the blue stragglers, the first eccentric orbit has a period of 11.0 days, while the last circular orbit has a period of 12.4 days. For longer periods the distribution of eccentricity is the same as for field stars. The blue straggler S1284 has an eccentric orbit despite its short period of 4.2 days.
The blue straggler F190 is a member of the old open cluster M67. We argue that F190 may still be in the final stages of the mass transfer that has made it into a blue straggler. We use the turnoff mass of the cluster and the mass function derived from the spectroscopic orbit for F190 to constrain the masses of each member of the binary, both before mass transfer and now. We find that the mass transfer must have been nearly 100 percent efficient.
For almost 1500 stars in the Carney-Latham survey of proper-motion stars we have accumulated about 20,000 precise radial velocities. Already we have orbital solutions for more than 150 spectroscopic binaries in this sample, and about 100 additional binary candidates with variable velocity. We find that among the metal-poor halo field stars in this sample the frequency of short-period spectroscopic binaries is indistinguishable from that of the disk. The distribution of eccentricity versus period shows evidence for tidal circularization on the main sequence. For the binaries more metal poor than [m/H] = −1.6 there is a clean transition from circular to elliptical orbits at a period of about 19 days. For longer periods the distribution of eccentricity is the same as for stars in the disk of the Galaxy.
Orbital solutions are now available for 46 binaries which are members of the Hyades. The distribution of eccentricity versus period shows evidence for tidal circularization of the short-period binaries. However, the transition from circular to eccentric orbits is not clean. The first eccentric orbit has a period of 5.75 days, while the last circular orbit has a period of 8.50 days. For longer periods the distribution of eccentricity is the same as for solar-type stars in the field.
Using optical and infrared photometry and echelle spectroscopy of variable V8 in the globular cluster M5, we derive a cluster distance of 6.8 kpc using the Baade-Wesselink method. This agrees with the prediction obtained for the cluster’s metallicity using a sample of 19 field stars studied by us and by Liu and Janes (this volume). It also agrees well with estimates for Mv obtained from statistical parallaxes of field stars. It agrees as well with the main sequence fitting procedure where we have used only HD 103095, the field halo dwarf with the most accurate trigonometric parallax (3% error), and which has a metallicity almost identical to that of M5. The star is also cool, hence unevolved, and is not a binary. Using the luminosity of the cluster’s main sequence, both Yale and Victoria isochrones yield a cluster age of 18 ± 3 Gyrs.
New observations of binaries are beginning to provide new clues on the formation and evolution of binary and multiple systems in a variety of stellar populations in the Galaxy. New orbital determinations are shedding light on the frequency and orbital characteristics of binaries in the disk and the halo of our Galaxy, both in clusters and the field. These results support the view that the formation of binaries involving solar-mass stars is relatively independent of the stellar environment. Evolutionary effects can have a major influence for close binaries with periods up to at least ten days, with a strong dependence on the age of the population. Progress towards determining the frequency of low-mass companions and planetary systems is promising but still very limited.
Mathieu et al. (1986) have completed an extensive radial-velocity survey of over 100 late-type stars in M 67 with V < 12.8. The spatial distributions of the spectroscopic binaries and single stars (i.e. those stars without detected radial-velocity variation; many of these are undoubtedly binaries, albeit with lower secondary masses) are shown in Fig. 1. The distribution of the binaries is notably more centrally concentrated than the single stars. The two observed distributions derive from distinct parent distributions at the 98% confidence level. The projected half-mass radius of the binaries is 0.9 pc; the half-mass radius of the single stars is 2.4 pc. Indeed, 77% of the binaries lie within the single-star half-mass radius.