We present updated results of a high-resolution, magnitude-limited (K s < 12 mag) imaging survey of nearby low-mass M6.0-M7.5 field stars. The observations were carried out using adaptive optics at the Gemini North, VLT, Keck II, and Subaru telescopes. Our sample of 36 stars consists predominantly of nearby (≲30 pc) field stars, five of which we have resolved as binaries. Two of the binary systems, 2MASSI J0429184-312356 and 2MASSI J1847034+552243, are presented here for the first time. All five of the discovered binary systems have separations between 0′.08 and 0′.53 (2-9 AU) with similar mass ratios (q > 0.8, ΔKs < 1 mag). This result supports the hypothesis that wide (a > 20 AU), very low mass (VLM; Mtot < 0.19 M⊙) binary systems are rare. The projected semimajor axis distribution of these systems peak at ∼5 AU, and we report a sensitivity-corrected binary fraction of 9-3 +4 % for stars with primaries of spectral type M6.0-M7.5 with separations ≳3 AU and mass ratios q ≳ 0.6. Within these instrumental sensitivities, these results support the overall trend that both the semimajor axis distribution and binary fraction are a function of the mass of the primary star and decrease with decreasing primary mass. These observations provide important constraints for low-mass binary star formation theories.
- Binaries: general
- Instrumentation: adaptive optics
- Stars: low-mass, brown dwarfs
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science