Ten eclipsing binaries in the Small Magellanic Cloud: fundamental parameters and SMC distance

TimJ Harries, Ronald William Hilditch, IanD Howarth

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

We present the first results of an observational programme to measure the fundamental parameters of over 100 eclipsing binaries in the Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC). The spectroscopic data have been obtained by using the two degree field (2dF) multi-object spectrograph on the 3.9-m Anglo-Australian Telescope, and have been used in conjunction with photometry from the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment (OGLE) data base of SMC eclipsing binaries. In this first paper, we discuss 10 systems: three are detached early-B binaries, six are in a semi-detached configuration, and one is in a marginal contact state. We conclude that the semi-detached systems are undergoing the slow mass-transfer phase of case-A binary evolution, in which the mass donor has reached its Roche lobe while still on the main sequence. Each system provides a primary distance indicator. By constructing a new calibration between spectral type and temperature for O and early B stars, we find a mean distance modulus to the SMC of 18.89 +/- 0.04 (statistical) +/-0.10 (systematic). This value represents one of the most precise determinations to date of the distance to the SMC.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-172
Number of pages16
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume339
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 11 Feb 2003

Keywords

  • binaries : eclipsing
  • binaries : general
  • Magellanic Clouds
  • GRAVITATIONAL LENSING EXPERIMENT
  • EFFECTIVE TEMPERATURE SCALE
  • INITIAL MASS FUNCTION
  • RED CLUMP STARS
  • INFRARED PHOTOMETRY
  • O-STARS
  • HV 2274
  • ABSOLUTE DIMENSIONS
  • STELLAR POPULATIONS
  • CLASSICAL CEPHEIDS

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