Unusually wide binaries: are they wide or unusual?
KRAUS A.L. and HILLENBRAND L.A.
Abstract (from CDS):
We describe an astrometric and spectroscopic campaign to confirm the youth and association of a complete sample of candidate wide companions in Taurus and Upper Sco. Our survey found 15 new binary systems (three in Taurus and 12 in Upper Sco) with separations of 3''-30'' (500-5000 AU) among all of the known members with masses of 2.5-0.012 M☉. The total sample of 49 wide systems in these two regions conforms to only some expectations from field multiplicity surveys. Higher mass stars have a higher frequency of wide binary companions, and there is a marked paucity of wide binary systems near the substellar regime. However, the separation distribution appears to be log-flat, rather than declining as in the field, and the mass ratio distribution is more biased toward similar-mass companions than the initial mass function or the field G-dwarf distribution. The maximum separation also shows no evidence of a limit at ≲5000 AU until the abrupt cessation of any wide binary formation at system masses of ∼0.3 M☉. We attribute this result to the post-natal dynamical sculpting that occurs for most field systems; our binary systems will escape to the field intact, but most field stars are formed in denser clusters and undergo significant dynamical evolution. In summary, only wide binary systems with total masses ≲0.3 M☉ appear to be "unusually wide."