Eccentric orbits in samples of circularized binary systems: The fingerprint of a third star

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Abstract

Three short-period binaries, whose orbits should have been circularized long ago, have been found with small eccentricities. The eccentricities are attributed to a third star, which can modulate the binary eccentricity with a relatively long timescale. It is shown that strong spectroscopic indications for the existence of a third star have already been observed in all three systems. The frequency of close binaries with another distant companion is discussed; some evidence is presented that about half of the spectroscopic binaries are in fact triple systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)675-677
Number of pages3
JournalAstronomical Journal
Volume99
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 1990

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