Precise Dynamical Masses of Directly Imaged Companions from Relative Astrometry, Radial Velocities, and Hipparcos-Gaia DR2 Accelerations

Timothy D. Brandt, Trent J. Dupuy, Brendan P. r Bowle

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We measure dynamical masses for five objects-three ultracool dwarfs, one low-mass star, and one white dwarf-by fitting orbits to a combination of the Hipparcos-Gaia Catalog of Accelerations, literature radial velocities, and relative astrometry. Our approach provides precise masses without any assumptions about the primary star, even though the observations typically cover only a small fraction of an orbit. We also perform a uniform re-analysis of the host stars' ages. Two of our objects, HD 4747B and HR 7672B, already have precise dynamical masses near the stellar/substellar boundary and are used to validate our approach. For Gl 758B, we obtain a mass of m = 37.9(-1.5)(+1.4) M-Jup, the most precise mass measurement of this companion to date. Gl 758B is the coldest brown dwarf with a dynamical mass, and the combination of our low mass and slightly older host-star age resolves its previously noted discrepancy with substellar evolutionary models. HD 68017B, a late M-dwarf, has a mass of m = 0.149 +/- 0.002 M-circle dot, consistent with stellar theory and previous empirical estimates based on its absolute magnitude. The progenitor of the white dwarf Gl 86B has been debated in the literature, and our dynamical measurement of m = 0.597 +/- 0.010 M-circle dot is consistent with a higher progenitor mass and younger age for this planet-hosting binary system. Overall, these case studies represent only five of the thousands of accelerating systems identified by combining Hipparcos and Gaia. Our analysis could be repeated for many of them to build a large sample of companions with dynamical masses.
Original languageEnglish
Article number140
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Sep 2019


  • astrometry
  • brown dwarfs
  • celestial mechanics
  • methods: statistical
  • stars: low-mass
  • white dwarfs

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