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Published July 10, 2012 | Published
Journal Article Open

YSOVAR: Six Pre-main-sequence Eclipsing Binaries in the Orion Nebula Cluster


Eclipsing binaries (EBs) provide critical laboratories for empirically testing predictions of theoretical models of stellar structure and evolution. Pre-main-sequence (PMS) EBs are particularly valuable, both due to their rarity and the highly dynamic nature of PMS evolution, such that a dense grid of PMS EBs is required to properly calibrate theoretical PMS models. Analyzing multi-epoch, multi-color light curves for ~2400 candidate Orion Nebula Cluster (ONC) members from our Warm Spitzer Exploration Science Program YSOVAR, we have identified 12 stars whose light curves show eclipse features. Four of these 12 EBs are previously known. Supplementing our light curves with follow-up optical and near-infrared spectroscopy, we establish two of the candidates as likely field EBs lying behind the ONC. We confirm the remaining six candidate systems, however, as newly identified ONC PMS EBs. These systems increase the number of known PMS EBs by over 50% and include the highest mass (θ^1 Ori E, for which we provide a complete set of well-determined parameters including component masses of 2.807 and 2.797 M_☉) and longest-period (ISOY J053505.71–052354.1, P ~ 20 days) PMS EBs currently known. In two cases (θ^1 Ori E and ISOY J053526.88–044730.7), enough photometric and spectroscopic data exist to attempt an orbit solution and derive the system parameters. For the remaining systems, we combine our data with literature information to provide a preliminary characterization sufficient to guide follow-up investigations of these rare, benchmark systems.

Additional Information

© 2012 American Astronomical Society. Received 2012 February 17; accepted 2012 April 30; published 2012 June 25. We are grateful to the anonymous referee for a helpful report. This work is based in part on observations made with the Spitzer Space Telescope, which is operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology under a contract with NASA. Support for this work was provided by NASA through an award issued by JPL/Caltech. This research has made use of the NASA Exoplanet Archive, which is operated by the California Institute of Technology, under contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under the Exoplanet Exploration Program. K.L. was supported by grant AST-0544588 and L.P. by grant AST-1009136 from the National Science Foundation. 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. S.M. was supported by the Gemini Observatory, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., on behalf of the international Gemini partnership of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. Facilities: Spitzer (IRAC), USNO:40in, UKIRT, NMSU:1m, LO:0.8m, Hale, Keck:I, Keck:II, Mayall

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