We present a high-contrast imaging survey of intermediate-mass (1.75–4.5 M⊙) stars to search the most extreme stellar binaries, i.e. for the lowest mass stellar companions. Using adaptive optics at the Lick and Gemini observatories, we observed 169 stars and detected 24 candidates companions, 16 of which are newly discovered, and all but three are likely or confirmed physical companions. Despite obtaining sensitivity down to the substellar limit for 75 per cent of our sample, we do not detect any companion below 0.3 M⊙, strongly suggesting that the distribution of stellar companions is truncated at a mass ratio of qmin ≳ 0.075. Combining our results with known brown dwarf companions, we identify a low-mass companion desert to intermediate-mass stars in the range 0.02 ≲ q ≲ 0.05, which quantitatively matches the known brown dwarf desert among solar-type stars. We conclude that the formation mechanism for multiple systems operates in a largely scale-invariant manner and precludes the formation of extremely uneven systems, likely because the components of a protobinary accrete most of their mass after the initial cloud fragmentation. Similarly, the mechanism to form ‘planetary’ (q ≲ 0.02) companions likely scales linearly with stellar mass, probably as a result of the correlation between the massesmore »
Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher.
Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?
Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.
A low-mass companion desert among intermediate-mass visual binaries: The scaled-up counterpart to the brown dwarf desert
Improved Orbital Constraints and Hα Photometric Monitoring of the Directly Imaged Protoplanet Analog HD 142527 B
Companions embedded in the cavities of transitional circumstellar disks have been observed to exhibit excess luminosity at H
α, an indication that they are actively accreting. We report 5 yr (2013–2018) of monitoring of the position and H αexcess luminosity of the embedded, accreting low-mass stellar companion HD 142527 B from the MagAO/VisAO instrument. We use pyklip, a Python implementation of the Karhunen–Loeve Image Processing algorithm, to detect the companion. Using pyklipforward modeling, we constrain the relative astrometry to 1–2 mas precision and achieve sufficient photometric precision (±0.2 mag, 3% error) to detect changes in the H αcontrast of the companion over time. In order to accurately determine the relative astrometry of the companion, we conduct an astrometric calibration of the MagAO/VisAO camera against 20 yr of Keck/NIRC2 images of the Trapezium cluster. We demonstrate agreement of our VisAO astrometry with other published positions for HD 142527 B, and use orbitize!to generate a posterior distribution of orbits fit to the relative astrometry of HD 142527 B. Our data suggest that the companion is close to periastron passage, on an orbit significantly misaligned with respect to both the wide circumbinary disk and the recently observed inner disk encircling HD 142527 A. We translate observed H αcontrasts formore »