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Title: The EREBOS project: Investigating the effect of substellar and low-mass stellar companions on late stellar evolution: Survey, target selection, and atmospheric parameters
Eclipsing post-common-envelope binaries are highly important for resolving the poorly understood, very short-lived common-envelope phase of stellar evolution. Most hot subdwarfs (sdO/Bs) are the bare helium-burning cores of red giants that have lost almost all of their hydrogen envelope. This mass loss is often triggered by common-envelope interactions with close stellar or even substellar companions. Cool companions to hot subdwarf stars such as late-type stars and brown dwarfs are detectable from characteristic light-curve variations – reflection effects and often eclipses. In the recently published catalog of eclipsing binaries in the Galactic Bulge and in the Asteroid Terrestrial-impact Last Alert System (ATLAS) survey, we discovered 125 new eclipsing systems showing a reflection effect seen by visual inspection of the light curves and using a machine-learning algorithm, in addition to the 36 systems previously discovered by the Optical Gravitational Lesing Experiment (OGLE) team. The Eclipsing Reflection Effect Binaries from Optical Surveys (EREBOS) project aims at analyzing all newly discovered eclipsing binaries of the HW Vir type (hot subdwarf + close, cool companion) based on a spectroscopic and photometric follow up to derive the mass distribution of the companions, constrain the fraction of substellar companions, and determine the minimum mass needed to strip more » off the red-giant envelope. To constrain the nature of the primary we derived the absolute magnitude and the reduced proper motion of all our targets with the help of the parallaxes and proper motions measured by the Gaia mission and compared those to the Gaia white-dwarf candidate catalog. It was possible to derive the nature of a subset of our targets, for which observed spectra are available, by measuring the atmospheric parameter of the primary, confirming that less than 10% of our systems are not sdO/Bs with cool companions but are white dwarfs or central stars of planetary nebula. This large sample of eclipsing hot subdwarfs with cool companions allowed us to derive a significant period distribution for hot subdwarfs with cool companions for the first time showing that the period distribution is much broader than previously thought and is ideally suited to finding the lowest-mass companions to hot subdwarf stars. The comparison with related binary populations shows that the period distribution of HW Vir systems is very similar to WD+dM systems and central stars of planetary nebula with cool companions. In the future, several new photometric surveys will be carried out, which will further increase the sample of this project, providing the potential to test many aspects of common-envelope theory and binary evolution. « less
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Astronomy & Astrophysics
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National Science Foundation
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