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2016PASP..128h2001H - Publ. Astron. Soc. Pac., 128, part no 8, 2001-82001 (2016/August-~)

Hot subluminous stars.


Abstract (from CDS):

Hot subluminous stars of spectral type B and O are core helium-burning stars at the blue end of the horizontal branch or have evolved even beyond that stage. Most hot subdwarf stars are chemically highly peculiar and provide a laboratory to study diffusion processes that cause these anomalies. The most obvious anomaly lies with helium, which may be a trace element in the atmosphere of some stars (sdB, sdO) while it may be the dominant species in others (He-sdB, He-sdO). Strikingly, the distribution in the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram of He-rich versus He-poor hot subdwarf stars of the globular clusters ω Cen and NGC 2808 differ from that of their field counterparts. The metal-abundance patterns of hot subdwarfs are typically characterized by strong deficiencies of some lighter elements as well as large enrichments of heavy elements. A large fraction of sdB stars are found in close binaries with white dwarf or very low-mass main sequence companions, which must have gone through a common-envelope (CE) phase of evolution. Because the binaries are detached they provide a clean-cut laboratory to study this important but yet poorly understood phase of stellar evolution. Hot subdwarf binaries with sufficiently massive white dwarf companions are viable candidate progenitors of type Ia supernovae both in the double degenerate as well as in the single degenerate scenario as helium donors for double detonation supernovae. The hyper-velocity He-sdO star US 708 may be the surviving donor of such a double detonation supernova. Substellar companions to sdB stars have also been found. For HW Vir systems the companion mass distribution extends from the stellar into the brown dwarf regime. A giant planet to the acoustic-mode pulsator V391 Peg was the first discovery of a planet that survived the red giant evolution of its host star. Evidence for Earth-size planets to two pulsating sdB stars have been reported and circumbinary giant planets or brown dwarfs have been found around HW Vir systems from eclipse timings. The high incidence of circumbinary substellar objects suggests that most of the planets are formed from the remaining CE material (second generation planets). Several types of pulsating star have been discovered among hot subdwarf stars, the most common are the gravity-mode sdB pulsators (V1093 Her) and their hotter siblings, the p-mode pulsating V361 Hya stars. Another class of multi-periodic pulsating hot subdwarfs has been found in the globular cluster ω Cen that is unmatched by any field star. Asteroseismology has advanced enormously thanks to the high-precision Kepler photometry and allowed stellar rotation rates to be determined, the interior structure of gravity-mode pulsators to be probed and stellar ages to be estimated. Rotation rates turned out to be unexpectedly slow calling for very efficient angular momentum loss on the red giant branch or during the helium core flash. The convective cores were found to be larger than predicted by standard stellar evolution models requiring very efficient angular momentum transport on the red giant branch. The masses of hot subdwarf stars, both single or in binaries, are the key to understand the stars' evolution. A few pulsating sdB stars in eclipsing binaries have been found that allow both techniques to be applied for mass determination. The results, though few, are in good agreement with predictions from binary population synthesis calculations. New classes of binaries, hosting so-called extremely low mass (ELM) white dwarfs (M < 0.3 M), have recently been discovered, filling a gap in the mosaic of binary stellar evolution. Like most sdB stars the ELM white dwarfs are the stripped cores of red giants, the known companions are either white dwarfs, neutron stars (pulsars) or F- or A-type main sequence stars ("EL CVn" stars). In the near future, the Gaia mission will provide high-precision astrometry for a large sample of subdwarf stars to disentangle the different stellar populations in the field and to compare the field subdwarf population with the globular clusters' hot subdwarfs. New fast-moving subdwarfs will allow the mass of the Galactic dark matter halo to be constrained and additional unbound hyper-velocity stars may be discovered.

Abstract Copyright: © 2016. The Astronomical Society of the Pacific. All rights reserved.

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