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Title: Binary deviations from single object astrometry
Abstract Most binaries are undetected. Astrometric reductions of a system using the assumption that the object moves like a single point mass can be biased by unresolved binary stars. The discrepancy between the centre of mass of the system (which moves like a point mass) and the centre of light (which is what we observe) introduces additional motion. We explore the extent to which binary systems affect single object models fit to astrometric data. This tells us how observations are diluted by binaries and which systems cause the largest discrepancies - but also allows us to make inferences about the binarity of populations based on observed astrometric error. By examining a sample of mock observations, we show that binaries with periods close to one year can mimic parallax and thus bias distance measurements, whilst long period binaries can introduce significant apparent proper motion. Whilst these changes can soak up some of the error introduced by the binary, the total deviation from the best fitting model can be translated into a lower limit on the on-sky separation of the pair. Throughout we link these predictions to data from the Gaia satellite, whilst leaving the conclusions generalizable to other surveys.
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Award ID(s):
1813881 1909584
Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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