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  1. Context. Hot subdwarfs in close binaries with either M dwarf, brown dwarf, or white dwarf companions show unique light variations. In hot subdwarf binaries with M dwarf or brown dwarf companions, we can observe the so-called reflection effect, while in hot subdwarfs with close white dwarf companions, we find ellipsoidal modulation and/or Doppler beaming. Aims. Analyses of these light variations can be used to derive the mass and radius of the companion and determine its nature. Thereby, we can assume the most probable sdB mass and the radius of the sdB derived by the fit of the spectral energy distribution and the Gaia parallax. Methods. In the high signal-to-noise space-based light curves from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and the K2 space mission, several reflection effect binaries and ellipsoidal modulation binaries have been observed with much better quality than with ground-based observations. The high quality of the light curves allowed us to analyze a large sample of sdB binaries with M dwarf or white dwarf companions using LCURVE . Results. For the first time, we can constrain the absolute parameters of 19 companions of reflection effect systems, covering periods from 2.5 to 19 h and with companion masses from the hydrogen-burning limit to early M dwarfs. Moreover, we were able to determine the mass of eight white dwarf companion to hot subdwarf binaries showing ellipsoidal modulations, covering the as-yet unexplored period range of 7 to 19 h. The derived masses of the white dwarf companions show that all but two of the white dwarf companions are most likely helium-core white dwarfs. Combining our results with previously measured rotation velocities allowed us to derive the rotation period of seven sdBs in short-period binaries. In four of those systems, the rotation period of the sdB agrees with a tidally locked orbit, whereas in the other three systems, the sdB rotates significantly more slowly. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  2. Context. About a third of the hot subdwarfs of spectral type B (sdBs), which are mostly core-helium-burning objects on the extreme horizontal branch, are found in close binaries with cool, low-mass stellar, substellar, or white dwarf companions. They can show light variations due to different phenomena. Aims. Many hot subdwarfs now have space-based light curves with a high signal-to-noise ratio available. We used light curves from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and the K2 space mission to look for more sdB binaries. Their light curves can be used to study the hot subdwarf primaries and their companions, and obtained orbital, atmospheric, and absolute parameters for those systems, when combined with other analysis methods. Methods. By classifying the light variations and combining these with the fit of the spectral energy distribution, the distance derived by the parallaxes obtained by Gaia , and the atmospheric parameters, mainly from the literature, we could derive the nature of the primaries and secondaries in 122 (75%) of the known sdB binaries and 82 newly found reflection effect systems. We derived absolute masses, radii, and luminosities for a total of 39 hot subdwarfs with cool, low-mass companions, as well 29 known and newly found sdBs with white dwarf companions. Results. The mass distribution of hot subdwarfs with cool, low-mass stellar and substellar companions, differs from those with white dwarf companions, implying they come from different populations. By comparing the period and minimum companion mass distributions, we find that the reflection effect systems all have M dwarf or brown dwarf companions, and that there seem to be several different populations of hot subdwarfs with white dwarf binaries – one with white dwarf minimum masses around 0.4  M ⊙ , one with longer periods and minimum companion masses up to 0.6  M ⊙ , and at the shortest period, another with white dwarf minimum masses around 0.8  M ⊙ . We also derive the first orbital period distribution for hot subdwarfs with cool, low-mass stellar or substellar systems selected from light variations instead of radial velocity variations. It shows a narrower period distribution, from 1.5 h to 35 h, compared to the distribution of hot subdwarfs with white dwarfs, which ranges from 1 h to 30 days. These period distributions can be used to constrain the previous common-envelope phase. 
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    We present the results of a search for deeply eclipsing white dwarfs in the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF) Data Release 4 (DR4). We identify nine deeply eclipsing white dwarf candidates, four of which we followed up with high-cadence photometry and spectroscopy. Three of these systems show total eclipses in the ZTF data and our follow-up Apache Point Observatory 3.5 m telescope observations. Even though the eclipse duration is consistent with sub-stellar companions, our analysis shows that all four systems contain a white dwarf with low-mass stellar companions of ∼0.1 M⊙. We provide mass and radius constraints for both stars in each system based on our photometric and spectroscopic fitting. Finally, we present a list of 41 additional eclipsing WD+M candidates identified in a preliminary search of ZTF DR7, including 12 previously studied systems. We identify two new candidate short-period, eclipsing, white dwarf–brown dwarf binaries within our sample of 41 WD+M candidates based on Pan-STARRS colours.

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    Magnetic fields can play an important role in stellar evolution. Among white dwarfs, the most common stellar remnant, the fraction of magnetic systems is more than 20 per cent. The origin of magnetic fields in white dwarfs, which show strengths ranging from 40 kG to hundreds of MG, is still a topic of debate. In contrast, only one magnetic hot subdwarf star has been identified out of thousands of known systems. Hot subdwarfs are formed from binary interaction, a process often associated with the generation of magnetic fields, and will evolve to become white dwarfs, which makes the lack of detected magnetic hot subdwarfs a puzzling phenomenon. Here we report the discovery of three new magnetic hot subdwarfs with field strengths in the range 300–500 kG. Like the only previously known system, they are all helium-rich O-type stars (He-sdOs). We analysed multiple archival spectra of the three systems and derived their stellar properties. We find that they all lack radial velocity variability, suggesting formation via a merger channel. However, we derive higher than typical hydrogen abundances for their spectral type, which are in disagreement with current model predictions. Our findings suggest a lower limit to the magnetic fraction of hot subdwarfs of $0.147^{+0.143}_{-0.047}$ per cent, and provide evidence for merger-induced magnetic fields which could explain white dwarfs with field strengths of 50–150 MG, assuming magnetic flux conservation.

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  5. Abstract ZTF J213056.71+442046.5 is the prototype of a small class of recently discovered compact binaries composed of a white dwarf and a hot subdwarf that fills its Roche lobe. Its orbital period of only 39 minutes is the shortest known for the objects in this class. Evidence for a high orbital inclination ( i = 86°) and for the presence of an accretion disk has been inferred from a detailed modeling of its optical photometric and spectroscopic data. We report the results of an XMM-Newton observation carried out on 2021 January 7. ZTF J213056.71+442046.5 was clearly detected by the Optical Monitor, which showed a periodic variability in the UV band (200–400 nm), with a light curve similar to that seen at longer wavelengths. Despite accretion on the white dwarf at an estimated rate of the order of 10 −9 M ⊙ yr −1 , no X-rays were detected with the EPIC instrument, with a limit of ∼10 30 erg s −1 on the 0.2–12 keV luminosity. We discuss possible explanations for the lack of a strong X-ray emission from this system. 
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  6. null (Ed.)
    Context. We present observations of ZTF20aatqesi (SN 2020faa). This Type II supernova (SN) displays a luminous light curve (LC) that started to rebrighten from an initial decline. We investigate this in relation to the famous SN iPTF14hls, which received a great deal of attention and multiple interpretations in the literature, but whose nature and source of energy still remain unknown. Aims. We demonstrate the great similarity between SN 2020faa and iPTF14hls during the first 6 months, and use this comparison to forecast the evolution of SN 2020faa and to reflect on the less well observed early evolution of iPTF14hls. Methods. We present and analyse our observational data, consisting mainly of optical LCs from the Zwicky Transient Facility in the gri bands and of a sequence of optical spectra. We construct colour curves and a bolometric lc, and we compare ejecta-velocity and black-body radius evolutions for the two supernovae (SNe) and for more typical Type II SNe. Results. The LCs show a great similarity with those of iPTF14hls over the first 6 months in luminosity, timescale, and colour. In addition, the spectral evolution of SN 2020faa is that of a Type II SN, although it probes earlier epochs than those available for iPTF14hls. Conclusions. The similar LC behaviour is suggestive of SN 2020faa being a new iPTF14hls. We present these observations now to advocate follow-up observations, since most of the more striking evolution of SN iPTF14hls came later, with LC undulations and a spectacular longevity. On the other hand, for SN 2020faa we have better constraints on the explosion epoch than we had for iPTF14hls, and we have been able to spectroscopically monitor it from earlier phases than was done for the more famous sibling. 
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  7. 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 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. 
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  8. Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2024
  9. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024
  10. Abstract A study of the charge conjugation and parity ( $$\textit{CP}$$ CP ) properties of the interaction between the Higgs boson and $$\tau $$ τ -leptons is presented. The study is based on a measurement of $$\textit{CP}$$ CP -sensitive angular observables defined by the visible decay products of $$\tau $$ τ -leptons produced in Higgs boson decays. The analysis uses 139 fb $$^{-1}$$ - 1 of proton–proton collision data recorded at a centre-of-mass energy of $$\sqrt{s}= 13$$ s = 13  TeV with the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider. Contributions from $$\textit{CP}$$ CP -violating interactions between the Higgs boson and $$\tau $$ τ -leptons are described by a single mixing angle parameter $$\phi _{\tau }$$ ϕ τ in the generalised Yukawa interaction. Without constraining the $$H\rightarrow \tau \tau $$ H → τ τ signal strength to its expected value under the Standard Model hypothesis, the mixing angle $$\phi _{\tau }$$ ϕ τ is measured to be $$9^{\circ } \pm 16^{\circ }$$ 9 ∘ ± 16 ∘ , with an expected value of $$0^{\circ } \pm 28^{\circ }$$ 0 ∘ ± 28 ∘ at the 68% confidence level. The pure $$\textit{CP}$$ CP -odd hypothesis is disfavoured at a level of 3.4 standard deviations. The results are compatible with the predictions for the Higgs boson in the Standard Model. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 1, 2024