Orbital properties of binary post-AGB stars

Glenn Michael Oomen, Hans Van Winckel, Onno Pols, Gijs Nelemans, Ana Escorza, Rajeev Manick, Devika Kamath, Christoffel Waelkens

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    59 Citations (Scopus)


    Binary post-Asymptotic giant branch (post-AGB) stars are thought to be the products of a strong but poorly understood interaction during the AGB phase. The aim of this contribution is to update the orbital elements of a sample of galactic post-AGB binaries observed in a long-Term radial-velocity monitoring campaign by analysing these systems in a homogeneous way. Radial velocities are computed from high signal-To-noise spectra via a cross-correlation method. The radial-velocity curves are fitted by using both a least-squares algorithm and a Nelder-Mead simplex algorithm. We use a Monte Carlo method to compute uncertainties on the orbital elements. The resulting mass functions are used to derive a companion mass distribution by optimising the predicted to the observed cumulative mass-function distributions, after correcting for observational bias. As a result, we derive and update orbital elements for 33 galactic post-AGB binaries, among which 3 are new orbits. The orbital periods of the systems range from 100 to about 3000 days. Over 70% (23 out of 33) of our binaries have significant non-zero eccentricities ranging over all periods. Their orbits are non-circular even though the Roche-lobe radii are smaller than the maximum size of a typical AGB star and tidal circularisation should have been strong when the objects were on the AGB. We derive a distribution of companion masses that is peaked around 1.09 Mâ with a standard deviation of 0.62 Mâ. The large spread in companion masses highlights the diversity of post-AGB binary systems. Post-AGB binaries are often chemically peculiar, showing in their photospheres the result of an accretion process of circumstellar gas devoid of refractory elements. We find that only post-AGB stars with high effective temperatures (> 5500 K) in wide orbits are depleted in refractory elements, suggesting that re-Accretion of material from a circumbinary disc is an ongoing process. It appears, however, that depletion is inefficient for the closest orbits irrespective of the actual surface temperature.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article numberA85
    Pages (from-to)1-21
    Number of pages21
    JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
    Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2018


    • Binaries: spectroscopic
    • Circumstellar matter
    • Stars: AGB and post-AGB


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