Aims. We aim at determining the masses of Cepheids in binary systems, as well as their geometric distances and the flux contribution of the companions. The combination of interferometry with spectroscopy will offer a unique and independent estimate of the Cepheid masses.
Methods. Using long-baseline interferometry at visible and infrared wavelengths, it is possible to spatially resolve binary systems containing a Cepheid down to milliarcsecond separations. Based on the resulting visual orbit and radial velocities, we can then derive the fundamental parameters of these systems, particularly the masses of the components and the geometric distance. We therefore performed interferometric observations of the first-overtone mode Cepheid V1334 Cyg with the CHARA/MIRC combiner.
Results. We report the first detection of a Cepheid companion using long-baseline interferometry. We detect the signature of a companion orbiting V1334 Cyg at two epochs. We measure a flux ratio between the companion and the Cepheid f = 3.10 ± 0.08%, giving an apparent magnitude mH = 8.47 ± 0.15 mag. The combination of interferometric and spectroscopic data have enabled the unique determination of the orbital elements. P = 1938.6 ± 1.2 days, Tp = 2 443 616.1 ± 7.3, a = 8.54 ± 0.51 mas, i = 124.7 ± 1.8°, e = 0.190 ± 0.013, ω = 228.7 ± 1.6°, and Ω = 206.3 ± 9.4°. We derive a minimal distance d ~ 691 pc, a minimum mass for both stars of 3.6 M⊙, with a spectral type earlier than B5.5V for the companion star. Our measured flux ratio suggests that radial velocity detection of the companion using spectroscopy is within reach, and would provide an orbital parallax and model-free masses.
- techniques: interferometric, instrumentation: high angular resolution, stars: variables: Cepheids, binaries: close