A redetermination of the mass of procyon

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The parallax and astrometric orbit of Procyon have been redetermined from PDS measurements of over 250 photographic plates spanning 83 years, with roughly 600 exposures used in the solution. These data are combined with two modern measurements of the primary-white dwarf separation, one utilizing a ground-based coronagraph, the other, the Planetary Camera (PC) of the Hubble Space Telescope. Together with the redetermined astrometric orbit and parallax, these yield new estimates of the component masses. The derived masses are 1.497 ± 0.037 M⊙ for the primary and 0.602 ± 0.015M⊙ for the white dwarf secondary. These mass values are heavily weighted by the PC separation measurement, which, while being somewhat discordant with the ground-based measures, we argue is more precise and more accurate and thus deserving of its greater weight. This stated, the long-standing discrepancy between previous determinations of the observed mass of Procyon A (1.75 M⊙) and the value supported by stellar evolution models (1.50 M⊙) appears to be reconciled.

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Astronomical Journal