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Accuracy of close binary mass determinations from parallaxes

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Absolute masses for W Ursae Majoris and Algol-type close binaries can be determined from their parallax, if observed, and the relative sizes of the stars and their mass ratio, obtained from a light curve solution. An error propagation study compares the typical order of magnitude of the various terms involved, and shows how accurate parallaxes have to be in order to make the procedure work, i.e., making the parallax term not larger than the combined non-parallax terms, and producing reasonably low mass errors. Some comments are made on the possibilities with respect to the HIPPARCOS program.

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Van Hamme, W., Wilson, R.E. Accuracy of close binary mass determinations from parallaxes. Astrophys Space Sci 110, 169–175 (1985). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00660626

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  • Close Binary
  • Roche Lobe
  • Absolute Mass
  • Contact Binary
  • Trigonometric Parallax