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    We present a detailed modelling study of CD-30°11223 (CD-30), a hot subdwarf (sdB)-white dwarf (WD) binary identified as a double detonation supernova progenitor, using the open-source stellar evolution software MESA. We focus on implementing binary evolution models carefully tuned to match the observed characteristics of the system including log g and Teff. For the first time, we account for the structure of the hydrogen envelope throughout the modelling, and find that the inclusion of element diffusion is important for matching the observed radius and temperature. We investigate the two sdB mass solutions (0.47 and 0.54 M⊙) previously proposed for this system, strongly favouring the 0.47 M⊙ solution. The WD cooling age is compared against the sdB age using our models, which suggest an sdB likely older than the WD, contrary to the standard assumption for compact sdB-WD binaries. Subsequently, we propose a possible alternate formation channel for CD-30. We also perform binary evolution modelling of the system to study various aspects such as mass transfer, orbital period evolution, and luminosity evolution. Our models confirm CD-30 as a double detonation supernova progenitor, expected to explode ≈55 Myr from now. The WD accretes an ≈0.17 M⊙ thick helium shell that causes a detonation, leaving a 0.30 M⊙ sdB ejected at ≈750 km s−1. The final 15 Myr of the system are characterized by helium accretion which dominates the system luminosity, possibly resembling an AM CVn-type system.

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    We conduct a systematic search for periodic variables in the hot subdwarf catalogue using data from the Zwicky Transient Facility. We present the classification of 67 HW Vir binaries, 496 reflection effect, pulsation or rotation sinusoids, 11 eclipsing signals, and 4 ellipsoidally modulated binaries. Of these, 486 are new discoveries that have not been previously published including a new mass-transferring hot subdwarf binary candidate. These sources were determined by applying the Lomb–Scargle and box least squares periodograms along with manual inspection. We calculated variability statistics on all periodic sources, and compared our results to traditional methods of determining astrophysical variability. We find that ≈60 per cent of variable targets, mostly sinusoidal variability, would have been missed using a traditional varindex cut. Most HW Virs, eclipsing systems, and all ellipsoidal variables were recovered with a varindex >0.02. We also find a significant reddening effect, with some variable hot subdwarfs meshing with the main-sequence stripe in the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram. Examining the positions of the variable stars in Galactic coordinates, we discover a higher proportion of variable stars within |b| < 25° of the Galactic plane, suggesting that the Galactic plane may be fertile grounds for future discoveries if photometric surveys can effectively process the clustered field.

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    The upcoming Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) will detect a large gravitational-wave foreground of Galactic white dwarf binaries. These sources are exceptional for their probable detection at electromagnetic wavelengths, some long before LISA flies. Studies in both gravitational and electromagnetic waves will yield strong constraints on system parameters not achievable through measurements of one messenger alone. In this work, we present a Bayesian inference pipeline and simulation suite in which we study potential constraints on binaries in a variety of configurations. We show how using LISA detections and parameter estimation can significantly improve constraints on system parameters when used as a prior for the electromagnetic analyses. We also provide rules of thumb for how current measurements will benefit from LISA measurements in the future.

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  4. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2024
  5. Abstract

    We present the results from our ongoing spectroscopic survey targeting low-mass white dwarf binaries, focusing on the southern sky. We used a Gaia DR2- and eDR3-based selection and identified 28 new binaries, including 19 new extremely low-mass (ELM) white dwarfs, one short period, likely eclipsing, DABZ, and two potential LISA binaries. We present the orbital and atmospheric parameters for each new binary based on our spectroscopic follow up. Four of our new binaries show periodic photometric variability in TESS 2 minutes cadence data, including one new eclipsing double-lined spectroscopic binary. Three others show periodic photometric variability in ZTF, including one new eclipsing binary. We provide estimates for the inclinations and scaled component radii for these ZTF variables, based on light-curve modeling of our high-speed photometric follow-up observations. Our observations have increased the sample of ELM Survey binaries identified in the southern sky to 41, an increase of 64%. Future time domain surveys, such as BlackGEM and the Vera C. Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time, will efficiently identify photometric variables in the southern sky and significantly increase the population of southern sky low-mass white dwarf binaries, leading to a more complete all-sky population of these systems.

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    We report the results from follow-up observations of two Roche-lobe filling hot subdwarf binaries with white dwarf companions predicted to have accretion discs. ZTF J213056.71+442046.5 (ZTF J2130) with a 39-min period and ZTF J205515.98+465106.5 (ZTF J2055) with a 56-min period were both discovered as subdwarf binaries with light curves that could only be explained well by including an accretion disc in their models. We performed a detailed high-resolution spectral analysis, using Keck/ESI to search for possible accretion features for both objects. We also employed polarimetric analysis using the Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT) for ZTF J2130. We did not find any signatures of an accretion disc in either object, and placed upper limits on the flux contribution and variation in degree of polarization due to the disc. Owing to the short 39-min period and availability of photometric data over 6 yr for ZTF J2130, we conducted an extensive O − C timing analysis in an attempt to look for orbital decay due to gravitational wave radiation. No such decay was detected conclusively, and a few more years of data paired with precise and consistent timing measurements were deemed necessary to constrain $\dot{P}$ observationally.

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  7. Abstract Binary systems of a hot subdwarf B (sdB) star + a white dwarf (WD) with orbital periods less than 2–3 hr can come into contact due to gravitational waves and transfer mass from the sdB star to the WD before the sdB star ceases nuclear burning and contracts to become a WD. Motivated by the growing class of observed systems in this category, we study the phases of mass transfer in these systems. We find that because the residual outer hydrogen envelope accounts for a large fraction of an sdB star’s radius, sdB stars can spend a significant amount of time (∼tens of megayears) transferring this small amount of material at low rates (∼10 −10 –10 −9 M ⊙ yr −1 ) before transitioning to a phase where the bulk of their He transfers at much faster rates ( ≳10 −8 M ⊙ yr −1 ). These systems therefore spend a surprising amount of time with Roche-filling sdB donors at orbital periods longer than the range associated with He star models without an envelope. We predict that the envelope transfer phase should be detectable by searching for ellipsoidal modulation of Roche-filling objects with P orb = 30–100 minutes and T eff = 20,000–30,000 K, and that many (≥10) such systems may be found in the Galactic plane after accounting for reddening. We also argue that many of these systems may go through a phase of He transfer that matches the signatures of AM CVn systems, and that some AM CVn systems associated with young stellar populations likely descend from this channel. 
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  8. Abstract Hot subdwarf stars are mostly stripped red giants that can exhibit photometric variations due to stellar pulsations, eclipses, the reflection effect, ellipsoidal modulation, and Doppler beaming. Detailed studies of their light curves help constrain stellar parameters through asteroseismological analyses or binary light-curve modeling and generally improve our capacity to draw a statistically meaningful picture of this enigmatic stage of stellar evolution. From an analysis of Gaia DR2 flux errors, we have identified around 1200 candidate hot subdwarfs with inflated flux errors for their magnitudes—a strong indicator of photometric variability. As a pilot study, we obtained 2 minute cadence TESS Cycle 2 observations of 187 candidate hot subdwarfs with anomalous Gaia flux errors. More than 90% of our targets show significant photometric variations in their TESS light curves. Many of the new systems found are cataclysmic variables, but we report the discovery of several new variable hot subdwarfs, including HW Vir binaries, reflection-effect systems, pulsating sdBV s stars, and ellipsoidally modulated systems. We determine atmospheric parameters for select systems using follow-up spectroscopy from the 3 m Shane telescope. Finally, we present a Fourier diagnostic plot for classifying binary light curves using the relative amplitudes and phases of their fundamental and harmonic signals in their periodograms. This plot makes it possible to identify certain types of variables efficiently, without directly investigating their light curves, and may assist in the rapid classification of systems observed in large photometric surveys. 
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    Blue Large-Amplitude Pulsators (BLAPs) are a relatively new class of blue variable stars showing periodic variations in their light curves with periods shorter than a few tens of minutes and amplitudes of more than 10 per cent. We report nine blue variable stars identified in the OmegaWhite survey conducted using ESO’s VST, which shows a periodic modulation in the range 7–37 min and an amplitude in the range 0.11–0.28 mag. We have obtained a series of followup photometric and spectroscopic observations made primarily using SALT and telescopes at SAAO. We find four stars which we identify as BLAPs, one of which was previously known. One star, OW  J0820–3301, appears to be a member of the V361 Hya class of pulsating stars and is spatially close to an extended nebula. One further star, OW J1819–2729, has characteristics similar to the sdAV pulsators. In contrast, OW J0815–3421 is a binary star containing an sdB and a white dwarf with an orbital period of 73.7 min, making it only one of six white dwarf-sdB binaries with an orbital period shorter than 80 min. Finally, high cadence photometry of four of the candidate BLAPs show features that we compare with notch-like features seen in the much longer period Cepheid pulsators.

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  10. Abstract The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) will be a transformative experiment for gravitational wave astronomy, and, as such, it will offer unique opportunities to address many key astrophysical questions in a completely novel way. The synergy with ground-based and space-born instruments in the electromagnetic domain, by enabling multi-messenger observations, will add further to the discovery potential of LISA. The next decade is crucial to prepare the astrophysical community for LISA’s first observations. This review outlines the extensive landscape of astrophysical theory, numerical simulations, and astronomical observations that are instrumental for modeling and interpreting the upcoming LISA datastream. To this aim, the current knowledge in three main source classes for LISA is reviewed; ultra-compact stellar-mass binaries, massive black hole binaries, and extreme or interme-diate mass ratio inspirals. The relevant astrophysical processes and the established modeling techniques are summarized. Likewise, open issues and gaps in our understanding of these sources are highlighted, along with an indication of how LISA could help making progress in the different areas. New research avenues that LISA itself, or its joint exploitation with upcoming studies in the electromagnetic domain, will enable, are also illustrated. Improvements in modeling and analysis approaches, such as the combination of numerical simulations and modern data science techniques, are discussed. This review is intended to be a starting point for using LISA as a new discovery tool for understanding our Universe. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2024