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Published September 20, 2016 | Submitted + Published
Journal Article Open

Radial velocity monitoring of Kepler heartbeat stars


Heartbeat stars (HB stars) are a class of eccentric binary stars with close periastron passages. The characteristic photometric HB signal evident in their light curves is produced by a combination of tidal distortion, heating, and Doppler boosting near orbital periastron. Many HB stars continue to oscillate after periastron and along the entire orbit, indicative of the tidal excitation of oscillation modes within one or both stars. These systems are among the most eccentric binaries known, and they constitute astrophysical laboratories for the study of tidal effects. We have undertaken a radial velocity (RV) monitoring campaign of Kepler HB stars in order to measure their orbits. We present our first results here, including a sample of 22 Kepler HB systems, where for 19 of them we obtained the Keplerian orbit and for 3 other systems we did not detect a statistically significant RV variability. Results presented here are based on 218 spectra obtained with the Keck/HIRES spectrograph during the 2015 Kepler observing season, and they have allowed us to obtain the largest sample of HB stars with orbits measured using a single instrument, which roughly doubles the number of HB stars with an RV measured orbit. The 19 systems measured here have orbital periods from 7 to 90 days and eccentricities from 0.2 to 0.9. We show that HB stars draw the upper envelope of the eccentricity–period distribution. Therefore, HB stars likely represent a population of stars currently undergoing high eccentricity migration via tidal orbital circularization, and they will allow for new tests of high eccentricity migration theories.

Additional Information

© 2016. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2016 June 6; revised 2016 August 10; accepted 2016 August 10; published 2016 September 20. We are grateful to the referee, Maxwell Moe, for his thorough reading of the manuscript and his meticulous comments that have helped improve this paper. We warmly thank Ben Fulton, Evan Sinukoff, Lauren Weiss, Lea Hirsch, Erik Petigura, and Geoff Marcy for contributions to the Keck/HIRES observations. This work was performed in part at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, under contract with the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) funded by NASA through the Sagan Fellowship Program executed by the NASA Exoplanet Science Institute. JF acknowledges partial support from NSF under grant no. AST-1205732 and through a Lee DuBridge Fellowship at Caltech. The authors wish to recognize and acknowledge the very significant cultural role and reverence that the summit of Mauna Kea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain. Some of the data presented in this paper were obtained from the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST). STScI is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555. Support for MAST for non-HST data is provided by the NASA Office of Space Science via grant NNX09AF08G and by other grants and contracts. This research has made use of NASA's Astrophysics Data System Service. This paper includes data collected by the Kepler mission. Funding for the Kepler mission is provided by the NASA Science Mission directorate. We acknowledge the support of the Kepler Guest Observer Program. Facilities:Kepler - The Kepler Mission, Keck:I (HIRES)

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Published - apj_829_1_34.pdf

Submitted - 1606.02723v2.pdf


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August 22, 2023
October 20, 2023