skip to main content

Title: A noninteracting low-mass black hole–giant star binary system

Black hole binary systems with companion stars are typically found via their x-ray emission, generated by interaction and accretion. Noninteracting binaries are expected to be plentiful in the Galaxy but must be observed using other methods. We combine radial velocity and photometric variability data to show that the bright, rapidly rotating giant star 2MASS J05215658+4359220 is in a binary system with a massive unseen companion. The system has an orbital period of ~83 days and near-zero eccentricity. The photometric variability period of the giant is consistent with the orbital period, indicating star spots and tidal synchronization. Constraints on the giant’s mass and radius imply that the unseen companion is3.30.7+2.8solar masses, indicating that it is a noninteracting low-mass black hole or an unexpectedly massive neutron star.

Authors:
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10122823
Journal Name:
Science
Volume:
366
Issue:
6465
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 637-640
ISSN:
0036-8075
Publisher:
American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Benchmark brown dwarf companions with well-determined ages and model-independent masses are powerful tools to test substellar evolutionary models and probe the formation of giant planets and brown dwarfs. Here, we report the independent discovery of HIP 21152 B, the first imaged brown dwarf companion in the Hyades, and conduct a comprehensive orbital and atmospheric characterization of the system. HIP 21152 was targeted in an ongoing high-contrast imaging campaign of stars exhibiting proper-motion changes between Hipparcos and Gaia, and was also recently identified by Bonavita et al. (2022) and Kuzuhara et al. (2022). Our Keck/NIRC2 and SCExAO/CHARIS imaging of HIP 21152 revealed a comoving companion at a separation of 0.″37 (16 au). We perform a joint orbit fit of all available relative astrometry and radial velocities together with the Hipparcos-Gaia proper motions, yielding a dynamical mass of244+6MJup, which is 1–2σlower than evolutionary model predictions. Hybrid grids that include the evolution of cloud properties best reproduce the dynamical mass. We also identify a comoving wide-separation (1837″ or 7.9 × 104au) early-L dwarf with an inferred mass near the hydrogen-burning limit. Finally, we analyze the spectra and photometry of HIP 21152 B using the Saumon & Marley (2008)more »atmospheric models and a suite of retrievals. The best-fit grid-based models havefsed= 2, indicating the presence of clouds,Teff= 1400 K, andlogg=4.5dex. These results are consistent with the object’s spectral type of T0 ± 1. As the first benchmark brown dwarf companion in the Hyades, HIP 21152 B joins the small but growing number of substellar companions with well-determined ages and dynamical masses.

    « less
  2. Abstract

    Gravitational-wave (GW) detections of merging neutron star–black hole (NSBH) systems probe astrophysical neutron star (NS) and black hole (BH) mass distributions, especially at the transition between NS and BH masses. Of particular interest are the maximum NS mass, minimum BH mass, and potential mass gap between them. While previous GW population analyses assumed all NSs obey the same maximum mass, if rapidly spinning NSs exist, they can extend to larger maximum masses than nonspinning NSs. In fact, several authors have proposed that the ∼2.6Mobject in the event GW190814—either the most massive NS or least massive BH observed to date—is a rapidly spinning NS. We therefore infer the NSBH mass distribution jointly with the NS spin distribution, modeling the NS maximum mass as a function of spin. Using four LIGO–Virgo NSBH events including GW190814, if we assume that the NS spin distribution is uniformly distributed up to the maximum (breakup) spin, we infer the maximum nonspinning NS mass is2.70.4+0.5M(90% credibility), while assuming only nonspinning NSs, the NS maximum mass must be >2.53M(90% credibility). The data support the mass gap’s existence, with a minimum BH mass at5.41.0+0.7M. With future observations, under simplified assumptions, 150more »NSBH events may constrain the maximum nonspinning NS mass to ±0.02M, and we may even measure the relation between the NS spin and maximum mass entirely from GW data. If rapidly rotating NSs exist, their spins and masses must be modeled simultaneously to avoid biasing the NS maximum mass.

    « less
  3. Abstract

    We present the direct imaging discovery of a low-mass companion to the nearby accelerating F star, HIP 5319, using SCExAO coupled with the CHARIS, VAMPIRES, and MEC instruments in addition to Keck/NIRC2 imaging. CHARISJHK(1.1–2.4μm) spectroscopic data combined with VAMPIRES 750 nm, MECY, and NIRC2Lpphotometry is best matched by an M3–M7 object with an effective temperature ofT= 3200 K and surface gravity log(g) = 5.5. Using the relative astrometry for HIP 5319 B from CHARIS and NIRC2, and absolute astrometry for the primary from Gaia and Hipparcos, and adopting a log-normal prior assumption for the companion mass, we measure a dynamical mass for HIP 5319 B of3111+35MJ, a semimajor axis of18.64.1+10au, an inclination of69.415+5.6degrees, and an eccentricity of0.420.29+0.39. However, using an alternate prior for our dynamical model yields a much higher mass of12888+127MJ. Using data taken with the LCOGT NRES instrument we also show that the primary HIP 5319 A is a single star in contrast to previous characterizations of the system as a spectroscopic binary. This work underscores the importance of assumed priors in dynamical models for companions detected with imaging andmore »astrometry, and the need to have an updated inventory of system measurements.

    « less
  4. Abstract

    HR 8799 is a young A5/F0 star hosting four directly imaged giant planets at wide separations (∼16–78 au), which are undergoing orbital motion and have been continuously monitored with adaptive optics imaging since their discovery over a decade ago. We present a dynamical mass of HR 8799 using 130 epochs of relative astrometry of its planets, which include both published measurements and new medium-band 3.1μm observations that we acquired with NIRC2 at Keck Observatory. For the purpose of measuring the host-star mass, each orbiting planet is treated as a massless particle and is fit with a Keplerian orbit using Markov chain Monte Carlo. We then use a Bayesian framework to combine each independent total mass measurement into a cumulative dynamical mass using all four planets. The dynamical mass of HR 8799 is1.470.17+0.12Massuming a uniform stellar mass prior, or1.460.15+0.11Mwith a weakly informative prior based on spectroscopy. There is a strong covariance between the planets’ eccentricities and the total system mass; when the constraint is limited to low-eccentricity solutions ofe< 0.1, which are motivated by dynamical stability, our mass measurement improves to1.430.07+0.06M. Our dynamical mass and other fundamental measured parameters of HRmore »8799 together with Modules for Experiments in Stellar Astrophysics Isochrones and Stellar Tracks grids yields a bulk metallicity most consistent with [Fe/H] ∼ −0.25–0.00 dex and an age of 10–23 Myr for the system. This implies hot-start masses of 2.7–4.9MJupfor HR 8799 b and 4.1–7.0MJupfor HR 8799 c, d, and e, assuming they formed at the same time as the host star.

    « less
  5. Abstract

    Gravitational-wave (GW) detections of binary black hole (BH) mergers have begun to sample the cosmic BH mass distribution. The evolution of single stellar cores predicts a gap in the BH mass distribution due to pair-instability supernovae (PISNe). Determining the upper and lower edges of the BH mass gap can be useful for interpreting GW detections of merging BHs. We useMESAto evolve single, nonrotating, massive helium cores with a metallicity ofZ= 10−5, until they either collapse to form a BH or explode as a PISN, without leaving a compact remnant. We calculate the boundaries of the lower BH mass gap for S-factors in the range S(300 keV) = (77,203) keV b, corresponding to the ±3σuncertainty in our high-resolution tabulated12C(α,γ)16O reaction rate probability distribution function. We extensively test temporal and spatial resolutions for resolving the theoretical peak of the BH mass spectrum across the BH mass gap. We explore the convergence with respect to convective mixing and nuclear burning, finding that significant time resolution is needed to achieve convergence. We also test adopting a minimum diffusion coefficient to help lower-resolution models reach convergence. We establish a new lower edge of the upper mass gap asMlower6014+32Mfrom the ±3σuncertainty inmore »the12C(α,γ)16O rate. We explore the effect of a larger 3αrate on the lower edge of the upper mass gap, findingMlower6918+34M. We compare our results with BHs reported in the Gravitational-Wave Transient Catalog.

    « less