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  1. ABSTRACT

    We report near-infrared long-baseline interferometric observations of the Hyades multiple system HD 284163, made with the Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy array, as well as almost 43 yr of high-resolution spectroscopic monitoring at the Center for Astrophysics. Both types of observations resolve the 2.39 d inner binary, and also an outer companion in a 43.1 yr orbit. Our observations, combined with others from the literature, allow us to solve for the 3D inner and outer orbits, which are found to be at nearly right angles to each other. We determine the dynamical masses of the three stars (good to better than 1.4 per cent for the inner pair), as well as the orbital parallax. The secondary component (0.5245 ± 0.0047 M⊙) is now the lowest mass star with a dynamical mass measurement in the cluster. A comparison of these measurements with current stellar evolution models for the age and metallicity of the Hyades shows good agreement. All three stars display significant levels of chromospheric activity, consistent with the classification of HD 284163 as an RS CVn object. We present evidence that a more distant fourth star is physically associated, making this a hierarchical quadruple system.

     
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  2. Abstract

    We present measurements of the interferometrically resolved binary star system 12 Com and the single giant star 31 Com in the cluster Coma Berenices. 12 Com is a double-lined spectroscopic binary system consisting of a G7 giant and an A3 dwarf at the cluster turnoff. Using an extensive radial velocity data set and interferometric measurements from the Palomar Testbed Interferometer and the Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy array, we measured massesM1= 2.64 ± 0.07MandM2= 2.10 ± 0.03M. Interferometry also allows us to resolve the giant and measure its size asR1= 9.12 ± 0.12 ± 0.01R. With the measured masses and radii, we find an age of 533 ± 41 ± 42 Myr. For comparison, we measure the radius of 31 Com to be 8.36 ± 0.15R. Based on the photometry and radius measurements, 12 Com A is likely the most evolved bright star in the cluster, large enough to be in the red giant phase, but too small to have core helium burning. Simultaneous knowledge of 12 Com A’s mass and photometry puts strong constraints on convective core overshooting during the main-sequence phase, which in turn reduces systematic uncertainties in the age. Increased precision in measuring this system also improves our knowledge of the progenitor of the cluster white dwarf WD1216+260.

     
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  3. Abstract

    The cool hypergiant star RW Cephei is currently in a deep photometric minimum that began several years ago. This event bears a strong similarity to the Great Dimming of the red supergiant Betelgeuse that occurred in 2019–2020. We present the first resolved images of RW Cephei that we obtained with the CHARA Array interferometer. The angular diameter and Gaia distance estimates indicate a stellar radius of 900–1760R, which makes RW Cephei one of the largest stars known in the Milky Way. The reconstructed, near-infrared images show a striking asymmetry in the disk illumination with a bright patch offset from the center and a darker zone to the west. The imaging results depend on assumptions made about the extended flux, and we present two cases with and without allowing extended emission. We also present a recent near-infrared spectrum of RW Cep that demonstrates that the fading is much larger at visual wavelengths compared to that at near-infrared wavelengths as expected for extinction by dust. We suggest that the star’s dimming is the result of a recent surface mass ejection event that created a dust cloud that now partially blocks the stellar photosphere.

     
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  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  5. Abstract

    The inner regions of protoplanetary disks host many complex physical processes such as star–disk interactions, magnetic fields, planet formation, and the migration of new planets. To study directly this region requires milliarcsecond angular resolution, beyond the diffraction limit of the world's largest optical telescopes and even too small for the millimeter-wave interferometer Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA). However, we can use infrared interferometers to image the inner astronomical unit. Here, we present new results from the CHARA and VLTI arrays for the young and luminous Herbig Be star HD 190073. We detect a sub-astronomical unit (sub-AU) cavity surrounded by a ring-like structure that we interpret as the dust destruction front. We model the shape with six radial profiles, three symmetric and three asymmetric, and present a model-free image reconstruction. All the models are consistent with a near face-on disk with an inclination ≲20°, and we measure an average ring radius of 1.4 ± 0.2 mas (1.14 au). Around 48% of the total flux comes from the disk with 15% of that emission appearing to emerge from inside the inner rim. The cause of emission is still unclear, perhaps due to different dust grain compositions or gas emission. The skewed models and the imaging point to an off-center star, possibly due to binarity. Our image shows sub-AU structure, which seems to move between the two epochs inconsistently with Keplerian motion and we discuss possible explanations for this apparent change.

     
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  6. Mérand, Antoine ; Sallum, Stephanie ; Sanchez-Bermudez, Joel (Ed.)
    The Michigan Young STar Imager at CHARA (MYSTIC) is a K-band interferometric beam combining instrument funded by the United States National Science Foundation, designed primarily for imaging sub-au scale disk structures around nearby young stars and to probe the planet formation process. Installed at the CHARA array in July 2021, with baselines up to 331 meters, MYSTIC provides a maximum angular resolution of λ/2B ∼ 0.7 mas. The instrument injects phase corrected light from the array into inexpensive, single-mode, polarization maintaining silica fibers, which are then passed via a vacuum feedthrough into a cryogenic dewar operating at 220 K for imaging. MYSTIC utilizes a high frame rate, ultra-low read noise SAPHIRA detector, and implements two beam combiners: a 6-telescope image plane beam combiner, based on the MIRC-X design, for targets as faint as 7.7 Kmag, as well as a 4-telescope integrated optic beam-combiner mode using a spare chip leftover from the GRAVITY instrument. MYSTIC is co-phased with the MIRC-X (J+H band) instrument for simultaneous fringe-tracking and imaging, and shares its software suite with the latter to allow a single observer to operate both instruments. Herein, we present the instrument design, review its operational performance, present early commissioning science observations, and propose upgrades to the instrument that could improve its K-band sensitivity to 10th magnitude in the near future. 
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  7. Abstract

    Some evolved binaries, namely post–asymptotic giant branch (AGB) binaries, are surrounded by stable and massive circumbinary disks similar to protoplanetary disks found around young stars. Around 10% of these disks are transition disks: they have a large inner cavity in the dust. Previous interferometric measurements and modeling have ruled out these cavities being formed by dust sublimation and suggested that they are due to massive circumbinary planets that trap dust in the disk and produce the observed depletion of refractory elements on the surfaces of the post-AGB stars. In this study, we test an alternative scenario in which the large cavities could be due to dynamical truncation from the inner binary. We performed near-infrared interferometric observations with the CHARA Array on the archetype of such a transition disk around a post-AGB binary: AC Her. We detect the companion at ten epochs over 4 yr and determine the three-dimensional orbit using these astrometric measurements in combination with a radial velocity time series. This is the first astrometric orbit constructed for a post-AGB binary system. We derive the best-fit orbit with a semimajor axis of 2.01 ± 0.01 mas (2.83 ± 0.08 au), inclination (142.9 ± 1.1)°, and longitude of the ascending node (155.1 ± 1.8)°. We find that the theoretical dynamical truncation and dust sublimation radii are at least ∼3× smaller than the observed inner disk radius (∼21.5 mas or 30 au). This strengthens the hypothesis that the origin of the cavity is due to the presence of a circumbinary planet.

     
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  8. Abstract We started a survey with CHARA/MIRC-X and VLTI/GRAVITY to search for low-mass companions orbiting individual components of intermediate-mass binary systems. With the incredible precision of these instruments, we can detect astrometric “wobbles” from companions down to a few tens of microarcseconds. This allows us to detect any previously unseen triple systems in our list of binaries. We present the orbits of 12 companions around early F- to B-type binaries, 9 of which are new detections and 3 of which are first astrometric detections of known radial velocity (RV) companions. The masses of these newly detected components range from 0.45 to 1.3 M ⊙ . Our orbits constrain these systems to a high astrometric precision, with median residuals to the orbital fit of 20–50 μ as in most cases. For seven of these systems we include newly obtained RV data, which help us to identify the system configuration and to solve for masses of individual components in some cases. Although additional RV measurements are needed to break degeneracy in the mutual inclination, we find that the majority of these inner triples are not well aligned with the wide binary orbit. This hints that higher-mass triples are more misaligned compared to solar and lower-mass triples, though a thorough study of survey biases is needed. We show that the ARMADA survey is extremely successful at uncovering previously unseen companions in binaries. This method will be used in upcoming papers to constrain companion demographics in intermediate-mass binary systems down to the planetary-mass regime. 
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  9. Abstract We present the visual orbits of four spectroscopic binary stars, HD 61859, HD 89822, HD 109510, and HD 191692, using long baseline interferometry with the CHARA Array. We also obtained new radial velocities from echelle spectra using the APO 3.5 m, CTIO 1.5 m, and Fairborn Observatory 2.0 m telescopes. By combining the astrometric and spectroscopic observations, we solve for the full, three-dimensional orbits and determine the stellar masses to 1%–12% uncertainty and distances to 0.4%–6% uncertainty. We then estimate the effective temperature and radius of each component star through Doppler tomography and spectral energy distribution analyses. We found masses of 1.4–3.5 M ⊙ , radii of 1.5–4.7 R ⊙ , and temperatures of 6400–10,300 K. We then compare the observed stellar parameters to the predictions of the stellar evolution models, but found that only one of our systems fits well with the evolutionary models. 
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  10. Abstract

    Castor is a system of six stars in which the two brighter objects, Castor A and B, revolve around each other every ∼450 yr and are both short-period spectroscopic binaries. They are attended by the more distant Castor C, which is also a binary. Here we report interferometric observations with the Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA) array that spatially resolve the companions in Castor A and B for the first time. We complement these observations with new radial velocity measurements of A and B spanning 30 yr, with the Hipparcos intermediate data, and with existing astrometric observations of the visual AB pair obtained over the past three centuries. We perform a joint orbital solution to solve simultaneously for the three-dimensional orbits of Castor A and B as well as the AB orbit. We find that they are far from being coplanar: the orbit of A is nearly at right angles (92°) relative to the wide orbit, and that of B is inclined about 59° compared to AB. We determine the dynamical masses of the four stars in Castor A and B to a precision better than 1%. We also determine the radii of the primary stars of both subsystems from their angular diameters measured with the CHARA array, and use them together with stellar evolution models to infer an age for the system of 290 Myr. The new knowledge of the orbits enables us to measure the slow motion of Castor C as well, which may assist future studies of the dynamical evolution of this remarkable sextuple system.

     
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