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Astron. Astrophys. 341, 547-552 (1999)

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Binary fraction in low-mass star forming regions: a reexamination of the possible excesses and implications

G. Duchêne

1 Laboratoire d'Astrophysique, Observatoire de Grenoble, Université Joseph Fourier, B.P. 53, F-38041 Grenoble Cedex 9, France

Received 23 July 1998 / Accepted 27 October 1998


Various surveys of low-mass binaries in star forming regions have been performed in recent years. They reached opposite conclusions concerning possible binary excesses in some of these associations. I develop a consistent method to reanalyze all these studies, so that I can compare all data consistently, and understand the previous findings. I also report the detection of five new companions to Taurus members.

It appears that binary fraction in Taurus exceeds the main sequence value by a factor of 1.7 in the range 4-2000 AU. The companion star fraction in this separation range is the same as the overall main sequence fraction. Ophiuchus, Chameleon, and possibly Lupus show similar excesses, although with lower confidence levels. Binaries in Ophiuchus seem to have larger flux ratios (towards faint companions) than in Taurus.

It appears very unlikely that all very young star forming regions have binary excesses. The binary fraction seems to be established after [FORMULA] Myr, but the precise nature of the difference between various regions is still unclear (overall binary fraction, orbital period distribution). It is not currently possible to put constraints on the binary formation models: higher angular resolution and larger sample sizes will be required.

Key words: stars: binaries: general – stars: pre-main sequence – stars: statistics

Correspondence to: Gaspard.Duchene@obs.ujf-grenoble.fr

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: December 4, 1998