Volume 541, May 2012
|Number of page(s)||7|
|Section||Catalogs and data|
|Published online||07 May 2012|
An investigation of binary stars in the Pleiades with high contrast and spatial resolution⋆
1 National Astronomical Research Institute of Thailand, 191 Siriphanich Bldg., Huay Kaew Rd., Suthep, Muang, 50200 Chiang Mai, Thailand
2 Graduate Institute of Astronomy, National Central University, 300 Jhongda Road, 32001 Jhongli, Taiwan
3 Department of Physics, National Central University, 300 Jhongda Road, 32001 Jhongli, Taiwan
4 INAF – Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna, via Ranzani 1, 40127 Bologna, Italy
5 Departament Astronomia i Meteorologia and Institut de Ciències del Cosmos (ICC), Universitat de Barcelona (UB/IEEC), Martí i Franqués 1, 08028 Barcelona, Spain
6 Observatori Fabra, Camí de l’Observatori s/n, 08035 Barcelona, Spain
7 European Southern Observatory, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
8 Leiden Observatory, PO Box 9513, 2300 RA Leiden, The Netherlands
9 Department of Physics and Materials Science, Faculty of Science, Chiang Mai University, Muang, 50200 Chiang Mai, Thailand
Received: 15 February 2012
Accepted: 15 March 2012
Context. It is widely recognized that binarity is a very common feature during star formation; however, different regions and clusters display significantly different binary fractions. This appears to be related to the initial density of the star forming region. The Pleiades cluster has been shown to have a binary fraction similar to that of field stars in the solar neighborhood.
Aims. We have taken advantage of a passage of the Moon over the Pleiades cluster, to investigate at high angular resolution two small but similar and consistent samples of cluster members and field stars.
Methods. We have employed the technique of lunar occultations (LO). Although LO in the Pleiades have been reported several times in the past, we have for the first time employed the superior performance of the VLT, achieving about 1 milliarcsecond (mas) resolution and detecting sources as faint as K ≈ 12 mag.
Results. We have recorded 17 LO light curves of stars recognized as cluster members, and 17 of field stars. The average magnitude was K ≈ 8.5 mag and the average limiting resolution ≈0.″002, for both samples. We detect 5 binaries among the cluster members, and 2 among the sample of field stars. Three systems are new detections, while two were previously only suspected to be binaries. The projected separations are in the range 0.″017 to 0.″642 and the brightness ratios in the range 1 to 90. One more star is suspected to have a companion.
Conclusions. Although the fraction of binary detections appears higher among the members than among the non-members, the two samples are too small to draw firm conclusions. Our observations show that, in spite of extensive investigations carried out previously in the Pleiades cluster, the binarity census is not yet complete. We have detected significant orbital motion in four binary systems, which stand up as candidates for dynamical mass estimations.
Key words: techniques: high angular resolution / occultations / binaries: general / stars: fundamental parameters
© ESO, 2012
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