The empirical mass distribution of hot B subdwarfs: Implications for stellar evolution theory
1 Institut d'Astrophysique et de Géophysique, Université de Liège
2 Chargé de recherches, Fonds de la Recherche Scientifique, FNRS
3 Département de Physique, Université de Montréal
4 CNRS, Université de Toulouse, UPS-OMP, IRAP
5 Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, Tucson
a e-mail: email@example.com
Subdwarf B (sdB) stars are hot, compact, and evolved objects that form the very hot end of the horizontal branch, the so-called Extreme Horizontal Branch (EHB). Understanding the formation of sdB stars is one of the remaining challenges of stellar evolution theory. Several scenarios have been proposed to account for the existence of such objects, made of He-burning core surrounded by very thin H-rich envelope. They give quite different theoretical mass distributions for the resulting sdB stars. Detailed asteroseismic analyses, including mass estimates, of 15 pulsating hot B subdwarfs have been published since a decade. The masses have also been reliably determined by light curve modeling and spectroscopy for 7 sdB components of eclipsing and/or reflection effect binaries. These empirical mass distributions, although based on small-number statistics, can be compared with the expectations of stellar evolution theory. In particular, the two He white dwarfs merger scenario does not seem to be the dominant channel to form isolated sdB stars, while the post-red giant branch scenario is reinforced. This opens new questions on extreme mass loss of red giants to form EHB stars, possibly in connection with the recently discovered close substellar companions and planets orbiting sdB stars.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2013
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License 2.0, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.