Two-epoch orbit estimation for wide binaries resolved in Hipparcos and Gaia.
Abstract (from CDS):
The Hipparcos catalog and its Double and Multiple System Annex (DMSA) lists 4099 components with individual proper motions and coordinates on the epoch 1991.25. Many of these long-period binary stars are also present in Gaia Data Release 2 (DR2). Using the available relative positions and proper motions separated by 24.25 yr, the equations of relative orbital motion can be solved for the two epoch eccentric anomalies, orbital period, and eccentricity. This method employs elimination of the linear Thiele-Innes unknowns and nonlinear optimization of the remaining condition equations. The quality of these solutions is compromised by the insufficient condition and modest precision of the Hipparcos astrometric data, as revealed by Monte Carlo simulations with artificially perturbed data points. The presence of multiple systems and optical pairs can also perturb the results. Limited experiments with artificial data indicate that useful estimates can be obtained with a 25 yr epoch difference for wide binaries with orbital periods up to ∼500 yr. The prospects of this method dramatically improve with the proposed next-generation space astrometry missions such as Gaia-NIR and Theia, especially when additional conditions are included from astrometric or spectroscopic measurements. An ancillary catalog of cross-identification and astrometric information for 1295 double-star pairs cross-matched in Gaia DR2 and Hipparcos is also published.