Resolving Sirius-like binaries with the Hubble Space Telescope

M. A. Barstow, Howard E. Bond, M. R. Burleigh, J. B. Holberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


We present initial results from a Hubble Space Telescope ultraviolet imaging survey of stars known to have hot white dwarf companions which are unresolved from the ground. The hot companions, discovered through their EUV or UV emission, are hidden by the overwhelming brightnesses of the primary stars at visible wavelengths. Out of 17 targets observed, we have resolved eight of them with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2, using various ultraviolet filters. Most of the implied orbital periods for the resolved systems are hundreds to thousands of years, but in at least three cases (56 Persei, ζ Cygni and RE J1925-566) it should be possible to detect the orbital motions within the next few years, and they may eventually yield new dynamically determined masses for the white dwarf components. The 56 Persei and 14 Aurigae systems are found to be quadruple and quintuple, respectively, including the known optical components as well as the newly resolved white dwarf companions. The mild barium star ζ Cygni, known to have an 18-year spectroscopic period, is marginally resolved. All of these newly resolved Sirius-type binaries will be useful in determining gravitational redshifts and masses of the white dwarf components.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)891-900
Number of pages10
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 21 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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