Volume 659, March 2022
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Section||Letters to the Editor|
|Published online||02 March 2022|
Letter to the Editor
HR 6819 is a binary system with no black hole
Revisiting the source with infrared interferometry and optical integral field spectroscopy⋆
Institute of Astronomy, KU Leuven, Celestijnlaan 200D, 3001 Leuven, Belgium
2 European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching b. München, Germany
3 European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere (ESO), Casilla, 19001 Santiago 19, Chile
4 Royal Observatory of Belgium, Avenue Circulaire 3, 1180 Brussel, Belgium
5 Anton Pannekoek Institute for Astronomy, University of Amsterdam, Postbus 94249, 1090 GE Amsterdam, The Netherlands
6 Astronomical Institute, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Boční II 1401, 141 31 Praha 4, Czech Republic
7 The CHARA Array of Georgia State University, Mount Wilson Observatory, Mount Wilson, CA 91023, USA
Accepted: 1 February 2022
Context. Two scenarios have been proposed to match the existing observational constraints of the object HR 6819. The system could consist of a close inner B-type giant plus a black hole (BH) binary with an additional Be companion in a wide orbit. Alternatively, it could be a binary composed of a stripped B star and a Be star in a close orbit. Either scenario makes HR 6819 a cornerstone object as the stellar BH closest to Earth, or as an example of an important transitional, non-equilibrium phase for Be stars with solid evidence for its nature.
Aims. We aim to distinguish between the two scenarios for HR 6819. Both models predict two luminous stars but with very different angular separations and orbital motions. Therefore, the presence of bright sources in the 1−100 milliarcsec (mas) regime is a key diagnostic for determining the nature of the HR 6819 system.
Methods. We obtained new high-angular resolution data with VLT/MUSE and VLTI/GRAVITY of HR 6819. The MUSE data are sensitive to bright companions at large scales, whilst the interferometric GRAVITY data are sensitive down to separations on mas scales and large magnitude differences.
Results. The MUSE observations reveal no bright companion at large separations and the GRAVITY observations indicate the presence of a stellar companion at an angular separation of ∼1.2 mas that moves on the plane of the sky over a timescale compatible with the known spectroscopic 40-day period.
Conclusions. We conclude that HR 6819 is a binary system and that no BH is present in the system. The unique nature of HR 6819, and its proximity to Earth make it an ideal system for quantitatively characterising the immediate outcome of binary interaction and probing how Be stars form.
Key words: stars: individual: HR 6819 / stars: massive / stars: emission-line, Be / binaries: close / techniques: interferometric / techniques: imaging spectroscopy
© ESO 2022
Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.
Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.
Initial download of the metrics may take a while.