Hot subdwarfs in close binaries observed from space I: orbital, atmospheric, and absolute parameters and the nature of their companions

V. Schaffenroth, I. Pelisoli, B. N. Barlow, S. Geier, T. Kupfer

Submitted on 5 July 2022


About a third of the hot subdwarfs of spectral type B, 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. We used light curves from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite and the \textit{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 get orbital, atmospheric, and absolute parameters for those systems. By classifying the light variations and combining this with the fit of the spectral energy distribution, the distance derived by the parallaxes obtained by \textit{Gaia} and the atmospheric parameters, we could derive the nature of the primary and secondary in 122 (75\%) of the known sdB binaries and 82 newly found reflection effect systems. We derive 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. 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 there are several different populations of hot subdwarfs with white dwarf binaries. 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 period distribution from 1.5 hours to 35 hours compared to the distribution of hot subdwarfs with white dwarfs, which ranges from 1 hour to 30 days. These period distributions can be used to constrain the previous common envelope phase.


Comment: accepted by A&A

Subject: Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics