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Title: Gamma Cas Stars as Be+White Dwarf Binary Systems

The origin of the bright and hard X-ray emission flux among theγCas subgroup of B-emission line (Be) stars may be caused by gas accretion onto an orbiting white dwarf (WD) companion. Such Be+WD binaries are the predicted outcome of a second stage of mass transfer from a helium star mass donor to a rapidly rotating mass gainer star. The stripped donor stars become small and hot white dwarfs that are extremely faint compared to their Be star companions. Here we discuss model predictions about the physical and orbital properties of Be+WD binaries, and we show that current observational results onγCas systems are consistent with the expected large binary frequency, companion faintness and small mass, and relatively high mass range of the Be star hosts. We determine that the companions are probably not stripped helium stars (hot subdwarf sdO stars), because these are bright enough to detect in ultraviolet spectroscopy, yet their spectroscopic signatures are not observed in studies ofγCas binaries. Interferometry of relatively nearby systems provides the means to detect very faint companions including hot subdwarf and cooler main-sequence stars. Preliminary observations of fiveγCas binaries with the CHARA Array interferometer show no evidence of the companion flux, leaving white more » dwarfs as the only viable candidates for the companions.

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The Astrophysical Journal Letters
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Article No. L6
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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