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  1. 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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  2. Abstract Helium star–carbon-oxygen white dwarf (CO WD) binaries are potential single-degenerate progenitor systems of thermonuclear supernovae. Revisiting a set of binary evolution calculations using the stellar evolution code MESA , we refine our previous predictions about which systems can lead to a thermonuclear supernova and then characterize the properties of the helium star donor at the time of explosion. We convert these model properties to near-UV/optical magnitudes assuming a blackbody spectrum and support this approach using a matched stellar atmosphere model. These models will be valuable to compare with pre-explosion imaging for future supernovae, though we emphasize the observational difficulty of detecting extremely blue companions. The pre-explosion source detected in association with SN 2012Z has been interpreted as a helium star binary containing an initially ultra-massive WD in a multiday orbit. However, extending our binary models to initial CO WD masses of up to 1.2 M ⊙ , we find that these systems undergo off-center carbon ignitions and thus are not expected to produce thermonuclear supernovae. This tension suggests that, if SN 2012Z is associated with a helium star–WD binary, then the pre-explosion optical light from the system must be significantly modified by the binary environment and/or the WD doesmore »not have a carbon-rich interior composition.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
  3. 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 andmore »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.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022