Finding binaries from phase modulation of pulsating stars with Kepler: V. Orbital parameters, with eccentricity and mass-ratio distributions of 341 new binaries

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  • Simon J. Murphy, Sydney University, Sydney
  • ,
  • Maxwell Moe, University of Arizona
  • ,
  • Donald W. Kurtz, University of Central Lancashire
  • ,
  • Timothy R. Bedding, Sydney University, Sydney
  • ,
  • Hiromoto Shibahashi, University Tokyo
  • ,
  • Henri M.J. Boffin, European Southern Observatory

The orbital parameters of binaries at intermediate periods (102-103 d) are difficult to measure with conventional methods and are very incomplete. We have undertaken a new survey, applying our pulsation timing method to Kepler light curves of 2224 main-sequence A/F stars and found 341 non-eclipsing binaries. We calculate the orbital parameters for 317 PB1 systems (single-pulsator binaries) and 24 PB2s (double-pulsators), tripling the number of intermediate-mass binaries with full orbital solutions. The method reaches down to small mass ratios q ≈ 0.02 and yields a highly homogeneous sample. We parametrize the massratio distribution using both inversion and Markov-Chain Monte Carlo forward-modelling techniques, and find it to be skewed towards low-mass companions, peaking at q ≈ 0.2. While solar-type primaries exhibit a brown dwarf desert across short and intermediate periods, we find a small but statistically significant (2.6σ) population of extreme-mass-ratio companions (q < 0.1) to our intermediate-mass primaries. Across periods of 100-1500 d and at q > 0.1, we measure the binary fraction of current A/F primaries to be 15.4 percent ± 1.4 per cent, though we find that a large fraction of the companions (21 percent ± 6 per cent) are white dwarfs in post-mass-transfer systems with primaries that are now blue stragglers, some of which are the progenitors of Type Ia supernovae, barium stars, symbiotics, and related phenomena. Excluding these white dwarfs, we determine the binary fraction of original A/F primaries to be 13.9 percent ± 2.1 per cent over the same parameter space. Combining our measurements with those in the literature, we find the binary fraction across these periods is a constant 5 per cent for primaries M1 < 0.8M, but then increases linearly with log M1, demonstrating that natal discs around more massive protostars M1 ≳ 1M become increasingly more prone to fragmentation. Finally, we find the eccentricity distribution of the main-sequence pairs to be much less eccentric than the thermal distribution.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Pages (from-to)4322-4346
Number of pages25
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2018

    Research areas

  • Binaries: general, Blue stragglers, Stars: formation, Stars: oscillations, Stars: statistics, Stars: variables: δScuti

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