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  1. Abstract AQ Col (EC 05217-3914) is one of the first detected pulsating subdwarf B (sdB) stars and has been considered to be a single star. Photometric monitoring of AQ Col reveals a pulsation timing variation with a period of 486 days, interpreted as time delay due to reflex motion in a wide binary formed with an unseen companion with expected mass larger than 1.05 M ⊙ . The optical spectra and color–magnitude diagram of the system suggested that the companion is not a main-sequence star but a white dwarf or neutron star. The pulsation timing variation also shows that themore »system has an eccentricity of 0.424, which is much larger than any known sdB long period binary system. That might be due to the existence of another short period companion to the sdB star. Two optical spectra obtained on 1996 December 5 show a radial velocity change of 49.1 km s −1 in 46.1 minutes, which suggests the hot subdwarf in the wide binary is itself a close binary formed with another unseen white dwarf or neutron star companion; if further observations show this interpretation to be correct, AQ Col is an interesting triple system worthy of further study.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  2. 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 Systemmore »(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 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
  3. Context. The TESS satellite was launched in 2018 to perform high-precision photometry from space over almost the whole sky in a search for exoplanets orbiting bright stars. This instrument has opened new opportunities to study variable hot subdwarfs, white dwarfs, and related compact objects. Targets of interest include white dwarf and hot subdwarf pulsators, both carrying high potential for asteroseismology. Aims. We present the discovery and detailed asteroseismic analysis of a new g -mode hot B subdwarf (sdB) pulsator, EC 21494−7018 (TIC 278659026), monitored in TESS first sector using 120-s cadence. Methods. The TESS light curve was analyzed with standardmore »prewhitening techniques, followed by forward modeling using our latest generation of sdB models developed for asteroseismic investigations. By simultaneously best-matching all the observed frequencies with those computed from models, we identified the pulsation modes detected and, more importantly, we determined the global parameters and structural configuration of the star. Results. The light curve analysis reveals that EC 21494−7018 is a sdB pulsator counting up to 20 frequencies associated with independent g -modes. The seismic analysis singles out an optimal model solution in full agreement with independent measurements provided by spectroscopy (atmospheric parameters derived from model atmospheres) and astrometry (distance evaluated from Gaia DR2 trigonometric parallax). Several key parameters of the star are derived. Its mass (0.391 ± 0.009  M ⊙ ) is significantly lower than the typical mass of sdB stars and suggests that its progenitor has not undergone the He-core flash; therefore this progenitor could originate from a massive (≳2  M ⊙ ) red giant, which is an alternative channel for the formation of sdBs. Other derived parameters include the H-rich envelope mass (0.0037 ± 0.0010  M ⊙ ), radius (0.1694 ± 0.0081  R ⊙ ), and luminosity (8.2 ± 1.1  L ⊙ ). The optimal model fit has a double-layered He+H composition profile, which we interpret as an incomplete but ongoing process of gravitational settling of helium at the bottom of a thick H-rich envelope. Moreover, the derived properties of the core indicate that EC 21494−7018 has burnt ∼43% (in mass) of its central helium and possesses a relatively large mixed core ( M core  = 0.198 ± 0.010  M ⊙ ), in line with trends already uncovered from other g-mode sdB pulsators analyzed with asteroseismology. Finally, we obtain for the first time an estimate of the amount of oxygen (in mass; X (O) core = 0.16 +0.13 −0.05 ) produced at this stage of evolution by an helium-burning core. This result, along with the core-size estimate, is an interesting constraint that may help to narrow down the still uncertain 12 C( α ,  γ ) 16 O nuclear reaction rate.« less