EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 498, Number 2, May I 2009
Page(s) 627 - 640
Section Catalogs and data
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361/200810698
Published online 18 February 2009
A&A 498, 627-640 (2009)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200810698

Spectroscopic binaries among Hipparcos M giants,

I. Data, orbits, and intrinsic variations
B. Famaey1, D. Pourbaix1, A. Frankowski1, S. Van Eck1, M. Mayor2, S. Udry2, and A. Jorissen1

1  Institut d'Astronomie et d'Astrophysique, Université libre de Bruxelles, Faculté des Sciences, CP 226, Boulevard du Triomphe, 1050 Bruxelles, Belgium
    e-mail: alain.jorissen@ulb.ac.be
2  Observatoire de Genève, Université de Genève, 1290 Sauverny, Switzerland

Received 28 July 2008 / Accepted 19 December 2008

Context. This paper is a follow-up on the vast effort to collect radial velocity data for stars belonging to the Hipparcos survey.
Aims. We aim at extending the orbital data available for binaries with M giant primaries. The data presented in this paper will be used in the companion papers of this series to (i) derive the binary frequency among M giants and compare it to that of K giants (Paper II); and (ii) analyse the eccentricity – period diagram and the mass-function distribution (Paper III).
Methods. Keplerian solutions are fitted to radial-velocity data. However, for several stars, no satisfactory solution could be found, even though the radial-velocity standard deviation is greater than the instrumental error, because M giants suffer from intrinsic radial-velocity variations due to pulsations. We show that these intrinsic radial-velocity variations can be linked with both the average spectral-line width and the photometric variability.
Results. We present an extensive collection of spectroscopic orbits for M giants with 12 new orbits, plus 17 from the literature. On top of these, 1 preliminary orbit yielded an approximate value for the eccentricity and the orbital period. Moreover, to illustrate how the large radial-velocity jitter present in Mira and semi-regular variables may easily be confused with orbital variations, we also present examples of pseudo-orbital variations (in S UMa, X Cnc, and possibly in HD 115 521, a former IAU radial-velocity standard). Because of this difficulty, M giants involving Mira variables were excluded from our monitored sample. We finally show that the majority of M giants detected as X-ray sources are actually binaries.
Conclusions. The data presented in this paper considerably increase the orbital data set for M giants, and will allow us to conduct a detailed analysis of the eccentricity – period diagram in a companion paper (Paper III).

Key words: stars: binaries: spectroscopic -- stars: late-type -- stars: AGB and post-AGB

© ESO 2009