Context: The study of symbiotic stars is essential to understand important aspects of stellar evolution in interacting binaries. Their observed population in the Galaxy is however poorly known, and is one to three orders of magnitudes smaller than the predicted population size.
Aims: IPHAS, the INT Photometric Hα survey of the Northern Galactic plane, gives us the opportunity to make a systematic, complete search for symbiotic stars in a magnitude-limited volume, and discover a significant number of new systems.
Methods: A method of selecting candidate symbiotic stars by combining IPHAS and near-IR (2MASS) colours is presented. It allows us to distinguish symbiotic binaries from normal stars and most of the other types of Hα emission line stars in the Galaxy. The only exception are T Tauri stars, which can however be recognized because of their concentration in star forming regions.
Results: Using these selection criteria, we discuss the classification of a list of 4338 IPHAS stars with Hα in emission. 1500 to 2000 of them are likely to be Be stars. Among the remaining objects, 1183 fulfill our photometric constraints to be considered candidate symbiotic stars. The spectroscopic confirmation of three of these objects, which are the first new symbiotic stars discovered by IPHAS, proves the potential of the survey and selection method.
Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Pub Date:
- March 2008
- Galaxy: stellar content;
- stars: binaries: symbiotic;
- stars: emission-line;
- stars: pre-main sequence;
- planetary nebulae: general;
- Accepted for publication on Astronomy and Astrophysics. 12 pages, 8 figures