Poster Open Access

Orbital Architectures of M Dwarf Systems: Building the P vs. e Diagram

Vrijmoet, Eliot Halley; Henry, Todd; Jao, Wei-Chun; Tokovinin, Andrei; Dieterich, Serge; Winters, Jennifer; Horch, Elliott

Editor(s)
Wolk, Scott

Comprising three out of every four stars, the M dwarfs form a unique sample that can host companions orbiting at Solar System scales and spanning a factor of 100,000 in mass. Targeting 120 M dwarf binaries within 25 parsecs, we are determining the period vs. eccentricity distribution for M dwarf stellar companions with orbital periods up to 6 years and semimajor axes up to 5 AU. This range is enabled by our combination of multiple observational methods: long-term astrometry from our RECONS program at the CTIO/SMARTS 0.9m is characterizing orbits on decades-long timescales, while our speckle interferometry survey at SOAR with HRCAM+SAM maps shorter orbits of systems identified from Gaia DR2, while also providing resolutions and masses for our long-period astrometric binaries. We will supplement these results with orbits from the literature, from both radial velocity and high-resolution imaging surveys, to ensure that our sample is rich with companions of all types orbiting within 5 AU. Initial results of this work so far suggest a notable paucity of M dwarf stellar companions with circular orbits greater than 5 years in period, showcasing the additional leverage provided by this combination of long-term astrometry and high-resolution imaging. Ultimately, when compared to the orbits of brown dwarf and planetary companions, such structures will be critical to understanding the formation mechanisms of these systems.

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