# Astronomy 421. Lecture 8: Binary stars

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1 Astronomy 421 Lecture 8: Binary stars 1

2 Key concepts: Binary types How to use binaries to determine stellar parameters The mass-luminosity relation 2

3 Binary stars So far, we ve looked at the basic physics we need for understanding stars: Newton s laws and binary orbits BB radiation: luminosity, effective temperature, radius Spectra: composition, radial velocity (and much more to come!) Now we start to apply these to learn about stars. The most fundamental property that dictates a star s structure and evolution is its mass. The direct way to measure mass is by observing binary systems (will also give info on radii, temperature, luminosity, density). 3

4 Types of binary stars About half of the stars are in binary or multiple systems. We divide them into groups from an observational standpoint. Visual binaries: nearby binaries where both stars can be imaged and motions across sky measured. Masses of each star can be found. Astrometric binaries: Only one star visible (other too dim). Infer existence of unseen companion causing oscillatory motion of the visible star. 4

5 Types of binary stars cont. Eclipsing binaries: orbital plane has orientation relative to our LOS that the stars periodically eclipse each other - studies of light curves yields much information. Spectrum binaries: can't distinguish two stars on the sky, but spectrum is two superimposed spectra with different Doppler shifts, but period too long to measure. Spectroscopic binaries: period is sufficiently short to cause observable periodic shift of spectral lines (if v r 0). Very useful when they also eclipse. double-lined binaries (spectral lines from both stars visible) single-lined binaries (spectral line from only one star visible) Optical doubles: a chance line-of-sight (LOS) alignment. Not gravitationally bound, no physical connection so not useful. 5

6 Visual binaries Wobble of Sirius A and B. Straight line describes motion of CM through space. Which one is more massive? Terminology: brighter = primary fainter = secondary We observe: Angular separation of each star from CM as a function of time Period To get masses, we also need to know Distance Inclination (i ) 6

7 Mass determination from visual binaries Assume we have two stars with masses m 1 and m 2, that orbit around the center of mass with semi-major axes a 1 and a 2. Definition of the center of mass gives and Kepler's third law gives where a = a 1 + a 2 = semi-major axis of orbit of reduced mass. So we have two equations which can give us both masses. But we need to measure P, a 1 and a 2. 7

8 In practice, the binary is located at a distance d and its orbital plane will form an angle i with the plane of the sky. Assume as a special case that the orbit is tilted around the minor axis. Then we observe the semi-major axes as angles projected onto the sky: Then we write the mass ratio using these observable quantities as (convince yourself that this is true regardless of axis around which orbit is tilted). To find m 1 + m 2, we need to measure P and determine a (= a 1 +a 2 ). If d and i are known, then we know a 1 and a 2, and thus a. Now we can solve for m 1 /m 2 and m 1 +m 2 => m 1, m 2. 8

9 The orbital plane will generally not be in the plane of the sky: the apparent orbit will still be an ellipse (of different eccentricity and focus location). How can we find i? The CM is found by defining a straight line in space for which the ratio of the angular distances of each star to it is the same at all times. But if orbit inclined, this will not be at apparent focus of ellipse. Must find ellipse that, when projected onto sky, has focus at CM. Harder if ellipse not tilted around minor axis, as in figure. How can we find d? Possibly Earth-orbit parallax (e.g.with Hipparcos satellite), or other methods we ll see later. 9

10 What about astrometric binaries? Assume distance is known and orbit in plane of sky again. Can only measure P, a 1 (star oscillates around a point that exhibits straight line, unaccelerated motion). Then use To find If m 1 known some other way, can get m 2. Applications? 10

11 Spectroscopic binaries Measure the Doppler shift of spectral lines to get the radial velocity. Consider case where both sets of lines are visible (doesn't have to be true!) and circular orbits. Then radial velocity curves will be sinusoidal. Changing i just changes amplitude, not the shape. 11

12 Note: when orbits are not circular, the velocity curves will be skewed: Fortunately, spectroscopic binaries tend to be close (why?) and their orbits circularize over relatively short timescales. For circular orbits at some inclination i, 12

13 For circular orbits: Or, using the observed radial velocities: inclination drops out again! To get the sum of the masses, use: 13

14 Kepler's third law then becomes: Or, in terms of observed velocity: Problem: we cannot measure i as before with visual binaries. Must make statistical arguments. Is an i close to 0 degrees likely? Would you be happier if this were an eclipsing spectroscopic binary? 14

15 Another problem: sometimes only one set of lines is visible. If only star 1 is observable: The 'mass function' The RHS is called the mass function and contains observable parameters (also looks familiar from our eqn for astrometric binaries) This sets a lower limit on m 2 (e.g. black hole binaries). 15

16 Eclipsing binaries: Can t resolve the stars, but the shape of the light curve gives information on the inclination and the radii of the stars. smaller eclipsing larger Which star is hotter? larger eclipsing smaller Can compare depths of minima to find ratio of temperatures, since and same cross-sectional areas are obscured during eclipses. 16

17 Assume the smaller star is hotter. Then the incident fluxes at key times are: "primary", or deeper minimum "secondary" minimum Note: if we assume the larger star is hotter, it can be shown that the same equation holds, but with the LHS becoming Thus, we can get T ratios, but can't tell which one is hotter. 17

18 Where which we determined from spectra v s v l 18

19 Application of mass determinations: Study of binary stars is the source of the calibrated mass-luminosity relation. Will look at physics of stars to understand where the relation comes from, and why there is a break in the slope. 19

20 Exoplanets Planetary transits or eclipses. Light curves give radii, orbit size, as before. But need spectrum of star to form mass function and constrain planet mass (later we ll see how star s spectrum can also give its mass). 20

21 21

22 2,740 Planet Candidates As of January 2013

23 Kepler-62f 1.4 R + ARTIST S CONCEPTS Earth 1.0 R + Kepler-62e 1.6 R +

24 Kepler s Habitable Zone Planets

25

26

27 Example spectrum binary Each star has a unique spectrum, depending on its spectral class. As we will see later in the course, a hot star has plenty of hydrogen lines in its spectrum. A cooler star displays more lines from metals. Spectrum binary: 27

28 Also, sort the following table out on your own from the physics and geometry involved in each type of event: Type of binary Observations performed (or needed) Parameters determined Visual a) Apparent magnitudes and π b) P, a, and π c) Motion relative to CM Stellar luminosities Semi-major axis (a) Mass sum (M+m) Spectroscopic a) Single velocity curve b) Double velocity curve Mass function f(m,m) Mass ratio (M/m) Eclipsing a) Shape of light curve eclipses b) Relative times between eclipses c) Light loss at eclipse minima Orbital inclination (i) Relative stellar radii (R l,s /a) Orbital eccentricity (e) Surface temperature ratio (T l /T s ) Eclipsing/spectroscopic a) Light and velocity curves b) Spectroscopic parallax + apparent magnitude Absolute dimensions (a, r s, r l, ) e and i Distance to binary Stellar luminosities Surface temperatures (T l, T s ) 28

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