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  1. Abstract

    Helium-rich subdwarf O stars (sdOs) are hot compact stars in a pre-white dwarf evolutionary state. Most of them have effective temperatures and surface gravities in the range Teff = 40 000–50 000 K and log g = 5.5–6.0. Their atmospheres are helium dominated. If present at all, C, N, and O are trace elements. The abundance patterns are explained in terms of nucleosynthesis during single star evolution (late helium core flash) or a binary He-core white dwarf merger. Here we announce the discovery of two hot hydrogen-deficient sdOs (PG1654+322 and PG1528+025) that exhibit unusually strong carbon and oxygen lines. A non-LTE model atmosphere analysis of spectra obtained with the Large Binocular Telescope and by the LAMOST survey reveals astonishingly high abundances of C ($\approx 20{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$) and O ($\approx 20{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$) and that the two stars are located close to the helium main sequence. Both establish a new spectroscopic class of hot H-deficient subdwarfs (CO-sdO) and can be identified as the remnants of a He-core white dwarf that accreted matter of a merging low-mass CO-core white dwarf. We conclude that the CO-sdOs represent an alternative evolutionary channel creating PG1159 stars besides the evolution of single stars that experience a late helium-shell flash.

  2. Abstract

    We present the discovery of a new double-detonation progenitor system consisting of a hot subdwarf B (sdB) binary with a white dwarf companion with aPorb= 76.34179(2) minutes orbital period. Spectroscopic observations are consistent with an sdB star during helium core burning residing on the extreme horizontal branch. Chimera light curves are dominated by ellipsoidal deformation of the sdB star and a weak eclipse of the companion white dwarf. Combining spectroscopic and light curve fits, we find a low-mass sdB star,MsdB= 0.383 ± 0.028Mwith a massive white dwarf companion,MWD= 0.725 ± 0.026M. From the eclipses we find a blackbody temperature for the white dwarf of 26,800 K resulting in a cooling age of ≈25 Myr whereas ourMESAmodel predicts an sdB age of ≈170 Myr. We conclude that the sdB formed first through stable mass transfer followed by a common envelope which led to the formation of the white dwarf companion ≈25 Myr ago. Using theMESAstellar evolutionary code we find that the sdB star will start mass transfer in ≈6 Myr and in ≈60 Myr the white dwarf will reach a total mass of 0.92Mwith a thick helium layer of 0.17M. This will lead to a detonation that will likely destroymore »the white dwarf in a peculiar thermonuclear supernova. PTF1 J2238+7430 is only the second confirmed candidate for a double-detonation thermonuclear supernova. Using both systems we estimate that at least ≈1% of white dwarf thermonuclear supernovae originate from sdB+WD binaries with thick helium layers, consistent with the small number of observed peculiar thermonuclear explosions.

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