Detection of the close faint companion
Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Grenoble and Mariotti Center, UMR 5571 Université Joseph Fourier/CNRS, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France e-mail: Gilles.Duvert@obs.ujf-grenoble.fr
Accepted: 6 October 2009
Aims. The detection of close and faint companions is an essential step in many astrophysical fields, including the search for planetary companions. A new method called “phase closure nulling” has been proposed for the detection of such faint and close companions based on interferometric observations when the system visibility amplitude is close to zero due to the large diameter of the primary star. We aim at demonstrating this method by analyzing observations obtained on the spectroscopic binary HD 59717.
Methods. Using the AMBER/VLTI instrument in the K-band with ~1500 spectral resolution, we record the spectrally dispersed closures phases of the SB1 binary HD 59717 with a three-baseline combination adequate for applying phase closure methods. After a careful data reduction, we fit the primary diameter, the binary flux ratio, and the separation using the phase closure data.
Results. We detect the 5-mag fainter companion of HD 59717 at a distance of 4 stellar radii from the primary. We determine the diameter of the primary, infer the secondary's spectral type and determine the masses and sizes of the stars in the binary system. This is one of the highest contrasts detected by interferometry between a companion and its parent star.
Key words: stars: fundamental parameters / stars: individual: HD 5917 / binaries: close / binaries: spectroscopic / techniques: interferometric / astrometry
© ESO, 2010