Imaging the Algol Triple System in the H Band with the CHARA Interferometer

F. Baron, J.~D. Monnier, E. Pedretti, M. Zhao, G. Schaefer, R. Parks, X. Che, N. Thureau, T.~A. ten Brummelaar, H.~A. McAlister, S.~T. Ridgway, C. Farrington, J. Sturmann, L. Sturmann, N. Turner

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46 Citations (Scopus)


Algol (β Per) is an extensively studied hierarchical triple system whose inner pair is a prototype semi-detached binary with mass transfer occurring from the sub-giant secondary to the main-sequence primary. We present here the results of our Algol observations made between 2006 and 2010 at the CHARA interferometer with the Michigan Infrared Combiner in the H-band. The use of four telescopes with long baselines allows us to achieve better than 0.5 mas resolution and to unambiguously resolve the three stars. The inner and outer orbital elements, as well as the angular sizes and mass ratios for the three components, are determined independently from previous studies. We report a significantly improved orbit for the inner stellar pair with the consequence of a 15% change in the primary mass compared with previous studies. We also determine the mutual inclination of the orbits to be much closer to perpendicularity than previously established. State-of-the-art image reconstruction algorithms are used to image the full triple system. In particular an image sequence of 55 distinct phases of the inner pair orbit is reconstructed, clearly showing the Roche-lobe-filling secondary revolving around the primary, with several epochs corresponding to the primary and secondary eclipses.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20
Number of pages1
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
Early online date22 May 2012
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jun 2012


  • binaries: eclipsing, infrared: stars, stars: imaging, stars: individual: Algol Bet Per HD 19356, techniques: image processing, techniques: interferometric


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