Pygmy Stars: First Pair

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Science  01 Jul 1966:
Vol. 153, Issue 3731, pp. 53-54
DOI: 10.1126/science.153.3731.53


The binary LP 101-15/16 having the proper motion of 1.62 seconds of arc per year has been studied with the prime-focus spectrograph of the 200-inch (508 cm) telescope. Indications are that LP 101-15/16 is the first pair of pygmy stars ever discovered. One of its components, LP 101-16, is probably a blue pygmy star which is at least four magnitudes fainter than the ordinary white dwarfs. Also, two of the Balmer lines in absorption appear to be displaced toward the red by amounts which indicate the existence of an Einstein gravitational red shift corresponding to about 1000 km sec-1. On the other hand LP 101-15 is red and shows an entirely new type of spectrum, which suggests that it may be a first representative of a type of red pygmy star which is 2.5 magnitudes fainter than the M-type dwarf stars of the main sequence.