Composite spectra - Paper 1: HR 6902
Composite-spectrum binary stars generally consist of a late-type giant and a main-sequence star of type A or B. Their spectra are therefore rather confusing; but by a technique of digital subtraction of the spectra of appropriate single late-type giants, composite spectra can be split into their individual components. In favourable cases the radial velocities of both components can be measured and the mass ratio determined. The procedures are illustrated by reference to HR 6902, a fifth-magnitude composite-spectrum binary. Its components are shown to have spectral types of G9 II and B8 V, with a mass ratio of 1.31, and its orbit is determined. There is some evidence that the system shows eclipses. If it does, the masses of the components are 3.9 and 3.0M⊙ respectively, and HR 6902 becomes the sixth known member of the important class ofζ Aur binaries.
Volume 40 | Issue 4
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