Speckle imaging measurements of the relative tangential velocities of the components of T Tauri binary stars

A. M. Ghez, A. J. Weinberger, G. Neugebauer, K. Matthews, Donald W Mccarthy

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Over a five year period, we have used speckle imaging to monitor 20 T Tauri binary stars with separations ranging from 0″.09 to 1″ (13-140 AU). This project is aimed at detecting the relative motion of the component stars to ascertain whether or not the observed companions (1) are stellar in nature, as opposed to being HH objects, and (2) are gravitationally bound to the primary stars. These observations demonstrate that speckle imaging measurements of close binary stars' separations can be made with an accuracy of a few milliarcseconds. The majority of the observed systems show significant relative velocities which (1) are not consistent with the motion expected for HH objects, (2) are greater than the velocity dispersion of these star-forming regions and thus are not the result of differential proper motion, and (3) are consistent with orbital motion. This is the first demonstration that these systems are physically bound. Furthermore, these relative velocity measurements provide dynamical evidence that the average total mass of these T Tauri binary star systems is ∼1.7Script M sign0.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)753-765
Number of pages13
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 1995


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics

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