A Search for Wide Low-Mass Companions to Spectroscopic Binaries
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We report on a near-infrared survey of binary stellar systems for possible distant tertiary components. Theory suggests that for multiple stars forming inside a single cloud of gas, the most probable outcome is for a single binary to dominate and accrete the majority of the gas, while lower mass stars may remain in loose orbits about the binary. Thus, it is predicted that a large proportion of binary systems may possess distant tertiary members of lower mass than the primary components. To test this theory, we search the space around known binary systems for undiscovered dim companions. Also, since these companions will be primarily low mass objects, this offers a good chance to search for brown dwarfs. These extremely low mass nullfailed starsnull are dim and difficult to detect in many cases, especially for the low temperature objects that we would like to discover. Thus, this presents a good opportunity to expand the population of known brown dwarfs. As part of a continuing survey, we have taken narrow-field images of 21 close spectroscopic binaries with the 8m Gemini North telescope and wide-field images of a further 20 systems with the Kitt Peak 4m telescope. From our analysis of these images, we have identified a number of candidate tertiary members for further investigation.
Franklin and Marshall College Archives, Undergraduate Honors Thesis 2010
- F&M Theses Collection