The Most Massive Heartbeat: An In-depth Analysis of ι Orionis [SSA]

{\iota} Ori is a well studied massive binary consisting of an O9 III + B1 III/IV star. Due to its high eccentricity (e = 0.764) and short orbital period (P orb = 29.13376 d), it has been considered to be a good candidate to show evidence of tidal effects; however, none have previously been identified. Using photometry from the BRITE-Constellation space photometry mission we have confirmed the existence of tidal distortions through the presence of a heartbeat signal at periastron. We combine spectroscopic and light curve analyses to measure the masses and radii of the components, revealing {\iota} Ori to be the most massive heartbeat system known to date. In addition, using a thorough frequency analysis, we also report the unprecedented discovery of multiple tidally induced oscillations in an O star. The amplitudes of the pulsations allow us to empirically estimate the tidal circularization rate, yielding an effective tidal quality factor Q $\approx 4 \times 10^{4}$ .

Read this paper on arXiv…

H. Pablo, N. Richardson, J. Fuller, et. al.
Wed, 8 Mar 17

Comments: 11 pages, 5 figures, 3 tables Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, in press