Stellar Multiplicity Meets Stellar Evolution And Metallicity: The APOGEE View

Badenes, Carles; Mazzola, Christine; Thompson, Todd A.; Covey, Kevin; Freeman, Peter E.; Walker, Matthew G.; Moe, Maxwell; Troup, Nicholas; Nidever, David; Allende Prieto, Carlos; Andrews, Brett; Barbá, Rodolfo H.; Beers, Timothy C.; Bovy, Jo; Carlberg, Joleen K.; De Lee, Nathan; Johnson, Jennifer; Lewis, Hannah; Majewski, Steven R.; Pinsonneault, Marc; Sobeck, Jennifer; Stassun, Keivan G.; Zasowski, Gail
eprint arXiv:1711.00660


We use the multi-epoch radial velocities acquired by the APOGEE survey to perform a large scale statistical study of stellar multiplicity for field stars in the Milky Way, spanning the evolutionary phases between the main sequence and the red clump. We show that the distribution of maximum radial velocity shifts ($\Delta RV_{max}$) for APOGEE targets is a strong function of log(g), with main sequence stars showing $\Delta RV_{max}$ as high as $\sim$300 $km\,s^{-1}$, and steadily dropping down to $\sim$30 $km\,s^{-1}$ for log(g)$\sim$0, as stars climb up the Red Giant Branch (RGB). Red clump stars show a distribution of $\Delta RV_{max}$ values comparable to that of stars at the tip of the RGB, implying they have similar multiplicity characteristics. The observed attrition of high $\Delta RV_{max}$ systems in the RGB is consistent with a lognormal period distribution in the main sequence and a multiplicity fraction of 0.35, which is truncated at an increasing period as stars become physically larger and undergo Case B mass transfer after Roche Lobe Overflow. The $\Delta RV_{max}$ distributions also show that the multiplicity characteristics of field stars are metallicity dependent, with metal-poor ([Fe/H]$\lesssim-0.5$) stars having a multiplicity fraction a factor 2-3 higher than metal-rich ([Fe/H]$\gtrsim0.0$) stars. This has profound implications for the formation rates of interacting binaries observed by astronomical transient surveys and gravitational wave detectors, as well as the habitability of circumbinary planets.