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  1. Context.T Tauri stars are low-mass young stars whose disks provide the setting for planet formation, which is one of the most fundamental processes in astronomy. Yet the mechanisms of this are still poorly understood. SU Aurigae is a widely studied T Tauri star and here we present original state-of-the-art interferometric observations with better uv and baseline coverage than previous studies.

    Aims.We aim to investigate the characteristics of the circumstellar material around SU Aur, and constrain the disk geometry, composition and inner dust rim structure.

    Methods.The MIRC-X instrument at CHARA is a six-telescope optical beam combiner offering baselines up to 331 m. We undertook image reconstruction for model-independent analysis, and fitted geometric models such as Gaussian and ring distributions. Additionally, the fitting of radiative transfer models constrained the physical parameters of the disk.

    Results.Image reconstruction reveals a highly inclined disk with a slight asymmetry consistent with inclination effects obscuring the inner disk rim through absorption of incident star light on the near side and thermal re-emission/scattering of the far side. Geometric models find that the underlying brightness distribution is best modelled as a Gaussian with a Full-Width Half-Maximum of 1.53 ± 0.01 mas at an inclination of 56.9 ± 0.4° and a minor axis position angle of 55.9 ± 0.5°. Radiative transfer modelling shows a flared disk with an inner radius at 0.16 au which implies a grain size of 0.14 μm assuming astronomical silicates and a scale height of 9.0 au at 100 au. In agreement with the literature, only the dusty disk wind successfully accounts for the near infrared excess by introducing dust above the mid-plane.

    Conclusions.Our results confirm and provide better constraints than previous inner disk studies of SU Aurigae. We confirm the presence of a dusty disk wind in the cicumstellar environment, the strength of which is enhanced by a late infall event which also causes very strong misalignments between the inner and outer disks.

     
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 1, 2024
  2. 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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  3. Abstract The nuclear region of Type 1 active galactic nuclei (AGNs) has only been partially resolved so far in the near-infrared (IR), where we expect to see the dust sublimation region and the nucleus directly without obscuration. Here, we present the near-IR interferometric observation of the brightest Type 1 AGN NGC 4151 at long baselines of ∼250 m using the CHARA Array, reaching structures at hundred microarcsecond scales. The squared visibilities decrease down to as low as ∼0.25, definitely showing that the structure is resolved. Furthermore, combining with the previous visibility measurements at shorter baselines but at different position angles, we show that the structure is elongated perpendicular to the polar axis of the nucleus, as defined by optical polarization and a linear radio jet. A thin-ring fit gives a minor/major axis ratio of ∼0.7 at a radius ∼0.5 mas (∼0.03 pc). This is consistent with the case where the sublimating dust grains are distributed preferentially in the equatorial plane in a ring-like geometry, viewed at an inclination angle of ∼40°. The recent mid-IR interferometric finding of polar-elongated geometry at a pc scale, together with a larger-scale polar outflow as spectrally resolved by the Hubble Space Telescope, would generally suggest a dusty, conical and hollow outflow being launched, presumably in the dust sublimation region. This might potentially lead to a polar-elongated morphology in the near-IR, as opposed to the results here. We discuss a possible scenario where an episodic, one-off anisotropic acceleration formed a polar-fast and equatorially slow velocity distribution, having led to an effectively flaring geometry as we observe. 
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  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2024
  5. We are resolving the orbits of spectroscopic binary stars in the Hyades Cluster using the CHARA Array. We obtained positions and flux ratios in the H-band using the MIRC-X combiner and the K-band using the recently commissioned MYSTIC combiner. We present preliminary orbital fits and mass estimates for four binary systems (HD 27691, HD 28033, HD 28294, and HD 28394). The sample consists of binaries where the primary stars have F-G spectral types and the companions are low mass stars with masses in the range of 0.3-0.9 Msun. The results will be used to test evolutionary models for low mass stars. The large mass difference between the components will provide leverage for testing the isochrones and refining the age of the Hyades cluster. 
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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. Context. Stellar evolution models are highly dependent on accurate mass estimates, especially for highly massive stars in the early stages of stellar evolution. The most direct method for obtaining model-independent stellar masses is derivation from the orbit of close binaries. Aims. Our aim was to derive the first astrometric plus radial velocity orbit solution for the single-lined spectroscopic binary star MWC 166 A, based on near-infrared interferometry over multiple epochs and ∼100 archival radial velocity measurements, and to derive fundamental stellar parameters from this orbit. A supplementary aim was to model the circumstellar activity in the system from K band spectral lines. Methods. The data used include interferometric observations from the VLTI instruments GRAVITY and PIONIER, as well as the MIRC-X instrument at the CHARA Array. We geometrically modelled the dust continuum to derive relative astrometry at 13 epochs, determine the orbital elements, and constrain individual stellar parameters at five different age estimates. We used the continuum models as a base to examine differential phases, visibilities, and closure phases over the Br γ and He  I emission lines in order to characterise the nature of the circumstellar emission. Results. Our orbit solution suggests a period of P  = 367.7 ± 0.1 d, approximately twice as long as found with previous radial velocity orbit fits. We derive a semi-major axis of 2.61 ± 0.04 au at d  = 990 ± 50 pc, an eccentricity of 0.498 ± 0.001, and an orbital inclination of 53.6 ± 0.3°. This allowed the component masses to be constrained to M 1  = 12.2 ± 2.2  M ⊙ and M 2  = 4.9 ± 0.5  M ⊙ . The line-emitting gas was found to be localised around the primary and is spatially resolved on scales of ∼11 stellar radii, where the spatial displacement between the line wings is consistent with a rotating disc. Conclusions. The large spatial extent and stable rotation axis orientation measured for the Br γ and He  I line emission are inconsistent with an origin in magnetospheric accretion or boundary-layer accretion, but indicate an ionised inner gas disc around this Herbig Be star. We observe line variability that could be explained either with generic line variability in a Herbig star disc or V/R variations in a decretion disc scenario. We have also constrained the age of the system, with relative flux ratios suggesting an age of ∼(7 ± 2)×10 5 yr, consistent with the system being composed of a main-sequence primary and a secondary still contracting towards the main-sequence stage. 
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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

    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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  10. Mérand, Antoine ; Sallum, Stephanie ; Sanchez-Bermudez, Joel (Ed.)
    The Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA) Array is a six-element interferometer with baselines ranging from 34 to 331 m. Three new beam combiners are entering operation: MYSTIC is a 6-telescope combiner for K-band; SPICA is a 6-telescope combiner for the visible R-band; and SILMARIL is a 3-telescope combiner for high sensitivity in H and K-bands. A seventh, portable telescope will use fiber optics for beam transport and will increase the baselines to 1 km. Observing time is available through a program funded by NSF. The programs are solicited and peer-reviewed by NSF’s National Optical Infrared Astronomy Research Laboratory. The open community access has significantly expanded the range of astronomical investigations of stars and their environments. Here we summarize the scientific work and the on-going technical advances of the CHARA Array. 
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