Observable tertiary tides in TIC242132789

Yan Gao, Jan Van roestel, Matthew J Green, Jim Fuller, Evgeni Grishin, Silvia Toonen

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Many stars live in hierarchical triple systems, but the physics of such systems are still poorly understood. One understudied physical aspect of these systems is tertiary tides, wherein the tidal deformation of a tertiary in a hierarchical triple drains energy from the inner binary, causing the inner binary’s orbital separation to decrease. This tidal process is difficult to observe directly, since such an observation requires a very compact hierarchical triple, the tertiary of which must be almost large enough to fill its Roche lobe at the epoch of observation. Concurrently, the recently discovered stellar system TIC242132789 is the fourth most compact observed hierarchical triple, and the most compact in which the tertiary is a giant. In this paper, we demonstrate that TIC242132789 provides a rare opportunity to place constraints on the model parameters for tertiary tides, and can even be a rare opportunity to directly observe tertiary-tides-induced orbital shrinkage of the inner binary. We calculate our expectations of how fast the inner orbit will shrink, and demonstrate that our estimates of this rate of shrinkage should be observable using current techniques. We conclude with a call for relevant observations of this system to commence.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberstad464
Pages (from-to)2114-2118
Number of pages5
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 10 Feb 2023


  • binaries: close
  • binaries: eclipsing
  • stars: evolution


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