Discovery of a new companion and evidence of a circumprimary disk: adaptive optics imaging of the young multiple system VW Chamaeleon.
BRANDEKER A., LISEAU R., ARTYMOWICZ P. and JAYAWARDHANA R.
Abstract (from CDS):
Since a majority of young low-mass stars are members of multiple systems, the study of their stellar and disk configurations is crucial to our understanding of both star and planet formation processes. Here we present near-infrared adaptive optics observations of the young multiple star system VW Chamaeleon. The previously known 0".7 binary is clearly resolved already in our raw J- and K-band images. We report the discovery of a new faint companion to the secondary, at an apparent separation of only 0".1, or 16 AU. Our high-resolution photometric observations also make it possible to measure the J-K colors of each of the three components individually. We detect an infrared excess in the primary, consistent with theoretical models of a circumprimary disk. Analytical and numerical calculations of orbital stability show that VW Cha may be a stable triple system. Using models for the age and total mass of the secondary pair, we estimate the orbital period to be 74 yr. Thus, follow-up astrometric observations might yield direct dynamical masses within a few years and constrain evolutionary models of low-mass stars. Our results demonstrate that adaptive optics imaging in conjunction with deconvolution techniques is a powerful tool for probing close multiple systems.