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First Visual Orbit for the Prototypical Colliding-wind Binary WR 140

Monnier, J. D. and Zhao, Ming and Pedretti, E. and Millan-Gabet, R. and Berger, J.-P. and Traub, W. and Schloerb, F. P. and ten Brummelaar, T. and McAlister, H. and Ridgway, S. and Sturmann, L. and Sturmann, J. and Turner, N. and Baron, F. and Kraus, S. and Tannirkulam, A. and Williams, P. M. (2011) First Visual Orbit for the Prototypical Colliding-wind Binary WR 140. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 742 (1). Art. No. L1. ISSN 2041-8205.

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Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars represent one of the final stages of massive stellar evolution. Relatively little is known about this short-lived phase and we currently lack reliable mass, distance, and binarity determinations for a representative sample. Here we report the first visual orbit for WR 140 (= HD193793), a WC7+O5 binary system known for its periodic dust production episodes triggered by intense colliding winds near periastron passage. The Infrared-Optical Telescope Array and Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy interferometers resolved the pair of stars in each year from 2003 to 2009, covering most of the highly eccentric, 7.9 year orbit. Combining our results with the recently improved double-line spectroscopic orbit of Fahed et al., we find the WR 140 system is located at a distance of 1.67 ± 0.03 kpc, composed of a WR star with M WR = 14.9 ± 0.5 M_☉ and an O star with M O = 35.9 ± 1.3 M_☉. Our precision orbit yields key parameters with uncertainties ~6× smaller than previous work and paves the way for detailed modeling of the system. Our newly measured flux ratios at the near-infrared H and Ks bands allow a spectral energy distribution decomposition and analysis of the component evolutionary states.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Monnier, J. D.0000-0002-3380-3307
Zhao, Ming0000-0002-4258-9517
Millan-Gabet, R.0000-0003-0447-5866
Berger, J.-P.0000-0001-5025-0428
ten Brummelaar, T.0000-0002-0114-7915
Baron, F.0000-0002-8376-8941
Kraus, S.0000-0001-6017-8773
Tannirkulam, A.0000-0002-9396-5551
Additional Information:© 2011 American Astronomical Society. Received 2011 September 20; accepted 2011 October 11; published 2011 October 25. We have appreciated discussions with Tony Moffat, Peter Tuthill, Debra Wallace, Bill Danchi, Sean Dougherty, and Remi Fahed during the (long) course of this work. We thank SAO, U. Mass, NSF AST-0138303, NSF AST-0352723, and NASA NNG05G1180G for supporting IOTA development and operations. We also acknowledge funding from GSU, the Keck Foundation, and NSF AST-0908253 for the CHARA Array. IONIC-3 was developed by LAOG (now IPAG) and LETI in the context of the IONIC collaboration (LAOG, IMEP, LETI), funded by the CNRS and CNES (France). Lastly we thank NSF AST-0807577 for support of University of Michigan researchers in this work. E.P. received funding from a Michelson Postdoctoral Fellowship and a Scottish Universities Physics Alliance (SUPA) advanced fellowship. P.M.W. is grateful to the Institute for Astronomy for hospitality and continued access to the facilities of the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh. This research has made use of the SIMBAD database, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France, and NASA’s Astrophysics Data System (ADS) Bibliographic Services. Facility: IOTA (IONIC3), CHARA (CLASSIC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Smithsonian Astrophysical ObservatoryUNSPECIFIED
University of MassachusettsUNSPECIFIED
Georgia State UniversityUNSPECIFIED
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
NASA Postdoctoral ProgramUNSPECIFIED
Scottish Universities Physics AllianceUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:binaries: visual; infrared: stars; stars: individual (WR 140, HD 193793); stars: Wolf-Rayet; techniques: interferometric
Issue or Number:1
Classification Code:PACS: 97.30.Eh; 95.85.Jq; 97.80.Di; 97.80.Fk; 97.10.Cv
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20111129-101642869
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:First Visual Orbit for the Prototypical Colliding-wind Binary WR 140 J. D. Monnier et al. 2011 ApJ 742 L1
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:27989
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 19:40
Last Modified:14 Oct 2019 18:39

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