Monday, July 15, 2013

1307.3498 (A. Richichi et al.)

Twenty-Five Sub-Arcsecond Binaries Discovered By Lunar Occultations    [PDF]

A. Richichi, O. Fors, F. Cusano, M. Moerchen
We report on 25 sub-arcsecond binaries, detected for the first time by means of lunar occultations in the near-infrared as part of a long-term program using the ISAAC instrument at the ESO Very Large Telescope. The primaries have magnitudes in the range K=3.8 to 10.4, and the companions in the range K=6.4 to 12.1. The magnitude differences have a median value of 2.8, with the largest being 5.4. The projected separations are in the range 6 to 748 milliarcseconds and with a median of 18 milliarcseconds, or about 3 times less than the diffraction limit of the telescope. Among our binary detections are a pre-main sequence star and an enigmatic Mira-like variable previously suspected to have a companion. Additionally, we quote an accurate first-time near-IR detection of a previously known wider binary. We discuss our findings on an individual basis as far as made possible by the available literature, and we examine them from a statistical point of view. We derive a typical frequency of binarity among field stars of ~10%, in the resolution and sensitivity range afforded by the technique (~0.003" to ~0.5", and K~12mag, respectively). This is in line with previous results by the same technique but we point out interesting differences that we can trace up to sensitivity, time sampling, and average distance of the targets. Finally, we discuss the prospects for further follow-up studies.
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