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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.

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    As part of a survey to find close binary systems among central stars of planetary nebula, we present two newly discovered binary systems. GALEX J015054.4+310745 is identified as the central star of the possible planetary nebula Fr 2-22. We find it to be a single-lined spectroscopic binary with an orbital period of 0.2554435(10) d. We support the previous identification of GALEX J015054.4+310745 as an sdB star and provide physical parameters for the star from spectral modelling. We identify its undetected companion as a likely He white dwarf. Based on this information, we find it unlikely that Fr 2-22 is a true planetary nebula. In addition, the central star of the true planetary nebula Hen 2-84 is found to be a photometric variable, likely due to the irradiation of a cool companion. The system has an orbital period of 0.485645(30) d. We discuss limits on binary parameters based on the available light-curve data. Hen 2-84 is a strongly shaped bipolar planetary nebula, which we now add to the growing list of axially or point-symmetric planetary nebulae with a close binary central star.

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    We present a detailed study of the stellar and orbital parameters of the post-common envelope binary central star of the planetary nebula Ou 5. Low-resolution spectra obtained during the primary eclipse – to our knowledge the first isolated spectra of the companion to a post-common-envelope planetary nebula central star – were compared to catalogue spectra, indicating that the companion star is a late K- or early M-type dwarf. Simultaneous modelling of multiband photometry and time-resolved radial velocity measurements was then used to independently determine the parameters of both stars as well as the orbital period and inclination. The modelling indicates that the companion star is low mass (∼0.25 M⊙) and has a radius significantly larger than would be expected for its mass. Furthermore, the effective temperature and surface gravity of nebular progenitor, as derived by the modelling, do not lie on single-star post-AGB evolutionary tracks, instead being more consistent with a post-RGB evolution. However, an accurate determination of the component masses is challenging. This is principally due to the uncertainty on the locus of the spectral lines generated by the irradiation of the companion’s atmosphere by the hot primary (used to derive companion star’s radial velocities), as well as the lack of radial velocities of the primary.

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