Eclipsing binary statistics - Theory and observation

Staffan Söderhjelm, Johann Dischler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (SciVal)


The expected distributions of eclipse-depth versus period for eclipsing binaries of different luminosities are derived from large-scale population synthesis experiments. Using the rapid Hurley et al. BSE binary evolution code, we have evolved several hundred million binaries, starting from various simple input distributions of masses and orbit-sizes. Eclipse probabilities and predicted distributions over period and eclipse-depth (P/Delta m) are given in a number of main-sequence intervals, from O-stars to brown dwarfs. The comparison between theory and Hipparcos observations shows that a standard (Duquennoy & Mayor) input distribution of orbit-sizes ( a) gives reasonable numbers and P/Delta m-distributions, as long as the mass-ratio distribution is also close to the observed flat ones. A random pairing model, where the primary and secondary are drawn independently from the same IMF, gives more than an order of magnitude too few eclipsing binaries on the upper main sequence. For a set of eclipsing OB-systems in the LMC, the observed period-distribution is different from the theoretical one, and the input orbit distributions and/or the evolutionary environment in LMC has to be different compared with the Galaxy. A natural application of these methods are estimates of the numbers and properties of eclipsing binaries observed by large-scale surveys like Gaia.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1003-1013
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2005

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology


  • stars : evolution
  • stars : formation
  • binaries : eclipsing
  • methods : miscellaneous
  • binaries : general
  • stars : statistics


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