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Title: The Sirius System and its Astrophysical Puzzles: Hubble Space Telescope and Ground-Based Astrometry
Authors: Bond, Howard E.
Schaefer, Gail H.
Gilliland, Ronald L.
Holberg, Jay B.
Mason, Brian D.
Lindenblad, Irving W.
Seitz-McLeese, Miranda
Arnett, W. David
Demarque, Pierre
Spada, Federico
Young, Patrick A.
Barstow, Martin A.
Burleigh, Matthew R.
Gudehus, Donald
First Published: 8-May-2017
Publisher: American Astronomical Society
Citation: Astrophysical Journal, 2017, 840(2)
Abstract: Sirius, the seventh-nearest stellar system, is a visual binary containing the metallic-line A1 V star Sirius A, brightest star in the sky, orbited in a 50.13-year period by Sirius B, the brightest and nearest white dwarf (WD). Using images obtained over nearly two decades with the Hubble Space Telescope (HST), along with photographic observations covering almost 20 years, and nearly 2300 historical measurements dating back to the 19th century, we determine precise orbital elements for the visual binary. Combined with the parallax and the motion of the A component, these elements yield dynamical masses of 2.063+/-0.023 Msun and 1.018+/-0.011 Msun for Sirius A and B, respectively. Our precise HST astrometry rules out third bodies orbiting either star in the system, down to masses of ~15-25 Mjup. The location of Sirius B in the H-R diagram is in excellent agreement with theoretical cooling tracks for WDs of its dynamical mass, and implies a cooling age of ~126 Myr. The position of Sirius B in the mass-radius plane is also consistent with WD theory, assuming a carbon-oxygen core. Including the pre-WD evolutionary timescale of the assumed progenitor, the total age of Sirius B is about 228+/-10 Myr. We calculated evolutionary tracks for stars with the dynamical mass of Sirius A, using two independent codes. We find it necessary to assume a slightly sub-solar metallicity, of about 0.85 Zsun, to fit its location in the luminosity-radius plane. The age of Sirius A based on these models is about 237-247 Myr, with uncertainties of +/-15 Myr, consistent with that of the WD companion. We discuss astrophysical puzzles presented by the Sirius system, including the probability that the two stars must have interacted in the past, even though there is no direct evidence for this, and the orbital eccentricity remains high.
DOI Link: 10.3847/1538-4357/aa6af8
ISSN: 0004-637X
eISSN: 1538-4357
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2017 American Astronomical Society. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

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