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A Cautionary Tale: MARVELS Brown Dwarf Candidate Reveals Itself to be a Very Long Period, Highly Eccentric Spectroscopic Stellar Binary

Mack, Claude E., III and Kane, Stephen R. (2013) A Cautionary Tale: MARVELS Brown Dwarf Candidate Reveals Itself to be a Very Long Period, Highly Eccentric Spectroscopic Stellar Binary. Astronomical Journal, 145 (5). Art. No. 139. ISSN 0004-6256. doi:10.1088/0004-6256/145/5/139.

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We report the discovery of a highly eccentric, double-lined spectroscopic binary star system (TYC 3010-1494-1), comprising two solar-type stars that we had initially identified as a single star with a brown dwarf companion. At the moderate resolving power of the MARVELS spectrograph and the spectrographs used for subsequent radial-velocity (RV) measurements (R ≾ 30,000), this particular stellar binary mimics a single-lined binary with an RV signal that would be induced by a brown dwarf companion (Msin i ~ 50 M _(Jup)) to a solar-type primary. At least three properties of this system allow it to masquerade as a single star with a very-low-mass companion: its large eccentricity (e ~ 0.8), its relatively long period (P ~ 238 days), and the approximately perpendicular orientation of the semi-major axis with respect to the line of sight (ω ~ 189°). As a result of these properties, for ~95% of the orbit the two sets of stellar spectral lines are completely blended, and the RV measurements based on centroiding on the apparently single-lined spectrum is very well fit by an orbit solution indicative of a brown dwarf companion on a more circular orbit (e ~ 0.3). Only during the ~5% of the orbit near periastron passage does the true, double-lined nature and large RV amplitude of ~15 km s^(–1) reveal itself. The discovery of this binary system is an important lesson for RV surveys searching for substellar companions; at a given resolution and observing cadence, a survey will be susceptible to these kinds of astrophysical false positives for a range of orbital parameters. Finally, for surveys like MARVELS that lack the resolution for a useful line bisector analysis, it is imperative to monitor the peak of the cross-correlation function for suspicious changes in width or shape, so that such false positives can be flagged during the candidate vetting process.

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Kane, Stephen R.0000-0002-7084-0529
Additional Information:© 2013 American Astronomical Society. Received 2013 January 1; accepted 2013 March 14; published 2013 April 9. This research was partially supported by the Vanderbilt Initiative in Data-Intensive Astrophysics (VIDA) and NSF CAREER grant AST 0349075 (C.E.M., K.G.S., L.H., J.P.), NSF AAPF AST 08-02230 (J.P.W.), NSF CAREER grant AST 0645416 (E.A.), CNPq grant 476909/2006-6 (G.F.P.M.), FAPERJ grant APQ1/26/170.687/2004 (G.F.P.M.), NSF CAREER grant AST-1056524 (B.S.G., J.D.E.), and a PAPDRJ CAPES/FAPERJ Fellowship (L.G.). Based on observations with the SDSS 2.5 m telescope. Funding for the MARVELS multi-object Doppler instrument was provided by the W. M. Keck Foundation and NSF grant AST-0705139. The MARVELS survey was partially funded by the SDSS-III consortium, NSF grant AST-0705139, NASA with grant NNX07AP14G and the University of Florida. The Center for Exoplanets and Habitable Worlds is supported by the Pennsylvania State University, the Eberly College of Science, and the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium. Data presented herein were obtained at the Hobby–Eberly Telescope (HET), a joint project of the University of Texas at Austin, the Pennsylvania State University, Stanford University, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, and Georg-August-Universität Göottingen. The HET is named in honor of its principal benefactors, William P. Hobby and Robert E. Eberly. This research has made use of the SIMBAD database, operated at CDS, Strasbourg, France, and the AAVSO Photometric All-Sky Survey (APASS), funded by the Robert Martin Ayers Sciences Fund. It also made use of the IRAF software distributed by the National Optical Astronomy Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy (AURA) under cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. This publication makes use of data products from the Two Micron All Sky Survey, which is a joint project of the University of Massachusetts and the Infrared Processing and Analysis Center/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Science Foundation. We also make use of data products from the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer, which is a joint project of the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, funded by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Funding for SDSS-III has been provided by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Participating Institutions, the National Science Foundation, and the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science. The SDSS-III Web site is SDSS-III is managed by the Astrophysical Research Consortium for the Participating Institutions of the SDSS-III Collaboration including the University of Arizona, the Brazilian Participation Group, Brookhaven National Laboratory, University of Cambridge, University of Florida, the French Participation Group, the German Participation Group, the Instituto de Astrofisica de Canarias, the Michigan State/Notre Dame/JINA Participation Group, Johns Hopkins University, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Max Planck Institute for Astrophysics, New Mexico State University, New York University, Ohio State University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Portsmouth, Princeton University, the Spanish Participation Group, University of Tokyo, University of Utah, Vanderbilt University, University of Virginia, University of Washington, and Yale University. Facilities: Sloan (MARVELS), ARC (ARCES), HET (HRS), Keck:I (NIRC2), Sanchez (FastCam)
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC)
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Vanderbilt Initiative in Data-Intensive Astrophysics (VIDA)UNSPECIFIED
NSFAST 0349075
NSFAST 08-02230
NSFAST 0645416
Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq)476909/2006-6
Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ)APQ1/26/170.687/2004
Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES)UNSPECIFIED
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
University of FloridaUNSPECIFIED
Pennsylvania State UniversityUNSPECIFIED
Eberly College of ScienceUNSPECIFIED
Pennsylvania Space Grant ConsortiumUNSPECIFIED
Alfred P. Sloan FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:binaries: spectroscopic; brown dwarfs; stars: individual (TYC 3010-1494-1)
Issue or Number:5
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20130521-113605396
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Official Citation:A Cautionary Tale: MARVELS Brown Dwarf Candidate Reveals Itself to be a Very Long Period, Highly Eccentric Spectroscopic Stellar Binary Claude E. Mack III et al. 2013 The Astronomical Journal 145 139
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:38604
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:21 May 2013 20:19
Last Modified:09 Nov 2021 23:38

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