NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2012B-0284

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Proposal Information for 2012B-0284


PI: Aaron M. Geller, Northwestern University, a-geller@northwestern.edu
Address: CIERA and Dept. of Physics & Astronomy, 2131 Tech Drive, Evanston, IL 60208, USA

CoI: Soren Meibom, Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics
CoI: Sydney A. Barnes, Space Science Institute
CoI: Robert D. Mathieu, University of Wisconsin - Madison

Title: Towards A Complete Census of the Solar-Type Binaries in the Young Open Cluster M37

Abstract: Binary stars govern the dynamical evolution of star clusters and determine the formation rates and mechanisms for exotic stars like blue stragglers and X-ray sources. Understanding the near-primordial (after removal of the natal gas) binary population of star clusters is of primary importance for dynamical models of star clusters, which have the potential to revolutionize our understanding of star cluster evolution. Yet the binary frequencies and distributions of binary orbital parameters (period, eccentricity, etc.) for young coeval stellar populations are poorly known, due to a lack of necessary observations. Time-series radial-velocity surveys are essential for identifying and characterizing binary populations. Using WIYN/Hydra data, we have already identified a nearly complete sample of 329 solar-type (1.5 <=M [M_\odot] <=1.0) candidate members in the young (~540 Myr) open cluster M37. Of these stars, 82 show significant radial-velocity variability, indicative of a binary companion. Kinematic orbital solutions are crucial to define the initial binary conditions critical for dynamical star cluster models, and to understand how binaries affects stellar rotational evolution. As we have already identified the binaries in M37, we have a unique opportunity to add significantly to our knowledge of young binaries with minimal additional telescope time. We propose to initiate a WIYN/Hydra multi-epoch radial-velocity survey of the 82 velocity variables in M37.


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