The frequency of binary stars in the core of 47 tucanae 1

Michael D. Albrow, Ronald L. Gilliland, Timothy M. Brown, Peter D. Edmonds, Puragra Guhathakurta, Ata Sarajedini

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Differential time series photometry has been derived for 46,422 main-sequence stars in the core of 47 Tucanae. The observations consisted of near-continuous 160 s exposures alternating between the F555W and F814W filters for 8.3 days in 1999 July with the Wide Field Planetary Camera 2 on the Hubble Space Telescope. Using Fourier and other search methods, 11 detached eclipsing binaries and 15 W Ursa Majoris stars have been discovered plus an additional 10 contact or near-contact noneclipsing systems. After correction for nonuniform area coverage of the survey, the observed frequencies of detached eclipsing binaries and W UMa stars within 90″ of the cluster center are 0.022% and 0.031%, respectively. The observed detached eclipsing binary frequency, the assumptions of a flat binary distribution with log period, and assuming that the eclipsing binaries with periods longer than about 4 days have essentially their primordial periods imply an overall binary frequency of 13% ± 6%. The observed W UMa frequency and the additional assumptions that W UMa stars have evolved to contact according to tidal circularization and angular momentum loss theory and that the contact binary lifetime is 109 yr imply an overall binary frequency of 14% ± 4%. An additional 71 variables with periods from 0.4 to 10 days have been found, which are likely to be BY Draconis stars in binary systems. The radial distribution of these stars is the same as that of the eclipsing binaries and W UMa stars and is more centrally concentrated than average stars but less so than the blue straggler stars. A distinct subset of six of these stars falls in an unexpected domain of the color-magnitude diagram, comprising what we propose to call red stragglers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1060-1081
Number of pages22
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 PART 1
StatePublished - Oct 1 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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