The 7.5 magnitude limit sample of bright short-period binary stars. I. How many contact binaries are there?
Abstract (from CDS):
A sample of bright contact binary stars (W UMa type or EW, and related: with β Lyr light curves, EB, and ellipsoidal, ELL–in effect, all but the detached, EA) to the limit of Vmax=7.5 mag is deemed to include all discoverable short-period (P<1 day) binaries with photometric variation larger than about 0.05 mag. Of the 32 systems in the final sample, 11 systems have been discovered by the Hipparcos satellite. The combined spatial density is evaluated at (1.02±0.24)x10–5 pc–3. The relative frequency of occurrence (RFO), defined in relation to the main-sequence stars, depends on the luminosity. An assumption of RFO≃1/500 for MV>+1.5 is consistent with the data, although the number statistics is poor with the resulting uncertainty in the spatial density and the RFO by a factor of about 2. The RFO rapidly decreases for brighter binaries to a level of 1/5000 for MV<+1.5 and to 1/30,000 for MV<+0.5. The high RFO of 1/130, previously determined from the deep OGLE-I sample of disk population W UMa type systems toward Baade's window, is inconsistent with and unconfirmed by the new results. Possible reasons for the large discrepancy are discussed. They include several observational effects but also a possibility of a genuine increase in the contact-binary density in the central parts of the Galaxy.
Stars: Binaries: Close - Stars: Binaries: Eclipsing - Stars: Variables: Other