We consider the multiplicity of stellar systems with (combined) magnitude brighter than 6.00 in Hipparcos magnitudes. We identify 4559 such bright systems (including the Sun), and the frequencies of multiplicities 1, 2,..., 7 are found to be 2718, 1437, 285, 86, 20, 11 and 2. We discuss the uncertainties, which are substantial. We also consider the distributions of periods of orbits and suborbits. We note that for even more restricted set of 478 systems with VH <= 4.00, the proportions of higher multiples up to sextuple are progressively larger (213, 179, 54, 19, 8, 5), suggesting substantial incompleteness in even the reasonably well studied larger sample.This sample can be seen as relatively thoroughly studied for multiplicity, and reasonably representative of stars more massive than the Sun. But the restriction to VH <= 6 means that our sample contains hardly any systems where all components are low-mass main-sequence stars (K or M). Data on multiplicity are important as a constraint on (i) the star formation problem, (ii) the problem of the evolution of the Galactic stellar population and (iii) the interaction of dynamics and evolution through the effect of Kozai cycles. We discuss these topics briefly.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- September 2008
- binaries: close;
- stars: statistics;
- Accepted for publication in MNRAS 11 pages, 1 figure, 3 tables: http://www.ctio.noao.edu/ftp/pub/tokovinin/eggleton2008/Table1.txt http://www.ctio.noao.edu/ftp/pub/tokovinin/eggleton2008/Table2.txt http://www.ctio.noao.edu/ftp/pub/tokovinin/eggleton2008/Table1.txt