Bispectrum speckle interferometry of the Orion trapezium stars: Detection of a close (33 mas) companion of Theta1 Ori C

G. Weigelt, Y. Balega, T. Preibisch, D. Schertl, M. Schöller, and H. Zinnecker

Astronomy and Astrophysics 347, L15-L18 (1999)


We present bispectrum speckle interferometry observations with the SAO 6 m telescope of the four brightest stars in the Orion Trapezium. Diffraction-limited images with an unprecedented resolution lambda/D of 57 mas and 76 mas were obtained in the H- and K-band, respectively. The H and K images of Theta1 Ori C (the star responsible for the proplyds) show for the first time that Theta1 Ori C is a close binary with a separation of only ~33 mas (H-band observation). The sub-arcsecond companions of Theta1 Ori A and Theta1 Ori B reported by Petr et al. (1998) are confirmed. We use the magnitudes and colors of the companions to derive information about their stellar properties from the HR-diagram. In addition we briefly discuss the multiplicity of the Trapezium stars. Considering both, the visual and the spectroscopic companions of the 4 Trapezium stars, there are at least 7 companions, i.e. at least 1.75 companions per primary on average. This number is clearly higher than that found for the low-mass stars in the Orion Nebula cluster as well as in the field population. This suggests that a different mechanism is at work in the formation of high-mass multiple systems in the dense Trapezium cluster than for low-mass stars.

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