Gaia Data Release 3: Stellar multiplicity, a teaser for the hidden treasure

Gaia Collaboration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Context. The Gaia DR3 catalogue contains, for the first time, about 800 000 solutions with either orbital elements or trend parameters for astrometric, spectroscopic, and eclipsing binaries, and combinations of these three. Aims. With this paper, we aim to illustrate the huge potential of this large non-single-star catalogue. Methods. Using the orbital solutions and models of the binaries, we have built a catalogue of tens of thousands of stellar masses or lower limits thereof, some with consistent flux ratios. Properties concerning the completeness of the binary catalogues are discussed, statistical features of the orbital elements are explained, and a comparison with other catalogues is performed. Results. Illustrative applications are proposed for binaries across the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram (HRD). Binarity is studied in the giant branch and a search for genuine spectroscopic binaries among long-period variables is performed. The discovery of new EL CVn systems illustrates the potential of combining variability and binarity catalogues. Potential compact object companions are presented, mainly white dwarf companions or double degenerates, but one candidate neutron star is also found. Towards the bottom of the main sequence, the orbits of previously suspected binary ultracool dwarfs are determined and new candidate binaries are discovered. The long awaited contribution of Gaia to the analysis of the substellar regime shows the brown dwarf desert around solar-type stars using true rather than minimum masses, and provides new important constraints on the occurrence rates of substellar companions to M dwarfs. Several dozen new exoplanets are proposed, including two with validated orbital solutions and one super-Jupiter orbiting a white dwarf, all being candidates requiring confirmation. Besides binarity, higher order multiple systems are also found. Conclusions. By increasing the number of known binary orbits by more than one order of magnitude, Gaia DR3 will provide a rich reservoir of dynamical masses and an important contribution to the analysis of stellar multiplicity.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA34
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2023


FundersFunder number
French Programme National de Physique Stellaire
Horizon 2020 Framework Programme2016069
European Research Council
German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development
United States-Israel Binational Science FoundationI-1498-303.7/2019
Fonds De La Recherche Scientifique - FNRS
Fonds Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek
Horizon 2020951549
Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg


    • Astrometry
    • Binaries: general
    • Catalogs
    • Planetary systems
    • Stars: fundamental parameters
    • White dwarfs


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