EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 392, Number 3, September IV 2002
Page(s) 895 - 907
Section Formation, structure and evolution of stars
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20020949

A&A 392, 895-907 (2002)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20020949

Complex Period Variations in the Binary System IM Aurigae

T. Borkovits1, 2, Sz. Csizmadia3, T. Hegedüs1, I. B. Bíró1, Zs. Sándor3, 4 and A. Opitz4

1  Baja Astronomical Observatory of Bács-Kiskun County, 6500 Baja, Szegedi ut, PO Box 766, Hungary
    e-mail: hege@electra.bajaobs.hu,barna@electra.bajaobs.hu
2  Visiting astronomer at Konkoly Observatory
3  Konkoly Observatory of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, 1525 Budapest, PO Box 67, Hungary
    e-mail: csizmadia@konkoly.hu
4  Department of Astronomy, Eötvös Loránd University, 1117 Budapest, Pázmány P. sétány. 1/A, Hungary
    e-mail: szsolt@astro.elte.hu,audrey@ludens.elte.hu

(Received 5 March 2002 / Accepted 29 May 2002 )

Results of a new light-curve analysis and period variation study of the eclipsing binary IM Aur are presented. Four solutions are given according to the different spectral types of the primary, available in the literature. Multicolour photometry and the period analysis both indicate a close ( $\approx$ $ 0\farcs1$) third physical member. If it is considered as a main-sequence star, then its spectral type is A2V-A8V, with a mass of $m_3\approx1.7{-}2.5~M_\odot$. The light-time effect is modelled by the authors' simultaneous secular and periodic terms fitting code. Clear evidence of a secular period change is also revealed. The detailed effects of the perturbations by a third member of a close binary system are extensively studied, using one of the authors' latest numerical integrator code. Although the amplitudes of the expected O-C changes are too small and also the data set is far undersampled for clear confirmation of the theoretical expectation of the third body-perturbed eclipsing binary O-C curve, some typical patterns are shown for their possible identification amongst the O-C curves of other closer systems (like Algol , Tau ) in the near future.

Key words: methods: numerical -- celestial mechanics -- binaries: close -- binaries: eclipsing -- stars: individual: IM Aur

Offprint request: T. Borkovits, borko@electra.bajaobs.hu

SIMBAD Objects in preparation

© ESO 2002