A complete census of wide visual companions to nearby G-dwarf stars can be achieved by selecting candidates from the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS) Point-Source Catalog and checking their status by second-epoch imaging. Such data are obtained for 124 candidates with separations up to 20'', 47 of which are shown to be new physical low-mass stellar companions. A list of visual binaries with G-dwarf primaries is produced by combining newly found companions with historical data. Maximum likelihood analysis leads to a companion frequency of 0.13 ± 0.015 per decade of separation. The mass ratio is distributed almost uniformly, with a power-law index between -0.4 and 0. The remaining uncertainty in the index is related to modeling of the companion detection threshold in 2MASS. These findings are confirmed by an alternative analysis of wider companions in 2MASS, removing the contamination by background stars statistically. Extension of this work will lead to a complete detection of visual companions—a necessary step toward reaching unbiased multiplicity statistics over the full range of orbital periods and, eventually, understanding the origin of multiple systems.
The Astronomical Journal
- Pub Date:
- February 2011
- binaries: general;
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics
- Accepted for publication in Astronomical Journal. 24 pages, 4 tables, 15 figures