Kathryn Neugent, one of the graduate students in our UW Massive Stars research group, has just published the latest first-author paper for her PhD thesis research, and it’s a major one! Following on her previous research, she’s now measured the binary fraction of red supergiants in the Large Magellanic Cloud! We know that red supergiants have B-star companions, and Kathryn’s carried out a huge search for RSG+B star binaries. In this paper she uses her previous and a kNN algorithm to classify LMC RSGs according to the likelihood of binarity. The end result? A binary fraction of around 20% for LMC RSGs! This is MUCH lower than for unevolved massive stars and possible explanations are discussed in the paper (and a topic for future work).
The paper is in press with the Astrophysical Journal; for now you can check it out on arXiv!