EDP Sciences
Free Access
Volume 378, Number 3, November II 2001
Page(s) 898 - 906
Section Formation, structure and evolution of stars
DOI https://doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20011262
Published online 15 November 2001

A&A 378, 898-906 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20011262

On the pre-main sequence circularization period

C. H. F. Melo1, E. Covino2, J. M. Alcalá2 and G. Torres3

1  Observatoire de Genève, Ch. des Maillettes 51, 1290 Sauverny, Switzerland
2  Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, Via Moiariello 16, 80131 Napoli, Italy
3  Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, 60 Garden Street, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA

(Received 9 February 2001 / Accepted 3 September 2001)

In this paper we present an updated compilation of the currently known pre-main sequence (PMS) spectroscopic binaries (SB) for which orbital elements have been determined. In particular we report our results for and discuss the case of the bona-fide PMS system RX J1603.9-3938, which has a circular orbit and a period of 7.56 days. This is the longest orbital period for a circular orbit found among the bona-fide PMS spectroscopic binaries so far, and we suggest that this system may be thus considered to now set the PMS circularization period. The longer period is compatible with the circularization periods already known for older binary populations such as the Hyades and Praesepe. When considered in the context of the circularization periods for other binary populations of different ages, the new PMS circularization period strongly supports the suggestion of Mathieu et al. ([CITE]) that a hybrid scenario (tidal circularization occurring on both PMS phase and on MS phase) could explain the observed circularization periods as a function of age. The apparently circular orbit observed in another PMS system, RX J1301.0-7654a, with an orbital period of nearly 13 days, may perhaps change this picture when the orbit is improved and the system is better understood.

Key words: stars: binaries: spectroscopic -- stars: pre-main sequence -- stars: individual: RX J1603.9-3938

Offprint request: C. H. F. Melo, Claudio.Melo@obs.unige.ch

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© ESO 2001

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