The M Dwarf Eclipsing Binary CU Cancri

Spectral features, radial velocities, elemental abundance estimates, other spectral data, and BVIC light curves are reported for the double-M dwarf eclipsing binary CU Cancri—a good target for a radius check versus the Zero Age Main Sequence (ZAMS) due to the low component masses and corresponding very slow evolutionary expansion. The estimate of [Fe/H] is about 0.4, although continuum placement and other difficulties due to line crowding introduce the usual uncertainties for red dwarfs. Detection of the Li i λ6707 line was attempted, with an estimated upper limit of 50 mÅ. Spectral and photometric indicators of stellar activity are described and illustrated. Other objectives were to measure the stellar radii via simultaneous velocity and light-curve solutions of earlier and new data while also improving the ephemeris by filling gaps in timewise coverage with the new velocities and eclipse data from the new light curves. The radii from our solutions agree within about 2% with those from Ribas, being slightly larger than expected for most estimates of the ZAMS. Some aspects of the red dwarf radius anomaly are briefly discussed. Evolution tracks show only very slight age-related expansion for masses near those in CU Cnc. Such expansion could be significant if CU Cnc were similar in age to the Galaxy, but then its Galactic velocity components should be representative of Population II, and they are not.

Publication Date:
Feb 01 2017
Date Submitted:
Feb 22 2019
The Astrophysical Journal

 Record created 2019-02-22, last modified 2019-04-03

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