Journal Article

A catalogue of multiplicity among bright stellar systems

P. P. Eggleton and A. A. Tokovinin

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 389, issue 2, pages 869-879
Published in print September 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online September 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13596.x
A catalogue of multiplicity among bright stellar systems

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We consider the multiplicity of stellar systems with (combined) magnitude brighter than 6.00 in Hipparcos magnitudes. We identify 4559 such bright systems (including the Sun), and the frequencies of multiplicities 1, 2, …, 7 are found to be 2718, 1437, 285, 86, 20, 11 and 2. We discuss the uncertainties, which are substantial. We also consider the distributions of periods of orbits and suborbits. We note that for even more restricted set of 478 systems with VH≤ 4.00, the proportions of higher multiples up to sextuple are progressively larger (213, 179, 54, 19, 8, 5), suggesting substantial incompleteness in even the reasonably well studied larger sample.

This sample can be seen as relatively thoroughly studied for multiplicity, and reasonably representative of stars more massive than the Sun. But the restriction to VH≤ 6 means that our sample contains hardly any systems where all components are low-mass main-sequence stars (K or M).

Data on multiplicity are important as a constraint on (i) the star formation problem, (ii) the problem of the evolution of the Galactic stellar population and (iii) the interaction of dynamics and evolution through the effect of Kozai cycles. We discuss these topics briefly.

Keywords: binaries: close; stars: statistics

Journal Article.  9720 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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