65 research outputs found

    UV-bright stars in globular clusters

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    This paper highlights globular cluster studies with Ultraviolet Imaging Telescope (UIT) in three areas: the discrepancy between observed ultraviolet HB magnitudes and predictions of theoretical HB models; the discovery of two hot subdwarfs in NGC 1851, a globular not previously known to contain such stars; and spectroscopic follow up of newly identified UV-bright stars in M79 and w Cen. I also present results of a recent observation of NGC 6397 with the Voyager ultraviolet spectrometer

    The High Chromospheres of the Late A Stars

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    We report the detection of N V 1239 A transition region emission in HST/GHRS spectra of the A7 V stars, Alpha Aql and Alpha Cep. Our observations provide the first direct evidence of 1-3 x 10^5 K material in the atmospheres of normal A-type stars. For both stars, and for the mid-A--type star Tau3 Eri, we also report the detection of chromospheric emission in the Si III 1206 A line. At a B-V color of 0.16 and an effective temperature of 8200 K, Tau3 Eri becomes the hottest main sequence star known to have a chromosphere and thus an outer convection zone. We see no firm evidence that the Si III line surface fluxes of the A stars are any lower than those of moderately active, solar-type, G and K stars. This contrasts sharply with their coronal X-ray emission, which is >100 times weaker than that of the later-type stars. Given the strength of the N V emission observed here, it now appears unlikely that the X-ray faintness of the A stars is due to their forming very cool, <= 1 MK coronae. An alternative explanation in terms of mass loss in coronal winds remains a possibility, though we conclude from moderate resolution spectra of the Si III lines that such winds, if they exist, do not penetrate into the chromospheric Si III--forming layers of the star, since the profiles of these lines are *not* blueshifted, and may well be redshifted with respect to the star.Comment: LaTex, 12 pages, 3 Postscript figures, uses aaspp4, accepted by Ap

    The Origin of Hot Subluminous Horizontal-Branch Stars in Omega Centauri and NGC 2808

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    Hot subluminous stars lying up to 0.7 mag below the extreme horizontal branch (EHB) are found in the UV color-magnitude diagrams of omega Cen and NGC 2808. Such stars are unexplained by canonical HB theory. In order to explore the origin of these subluminous stars, we evolved a set of low-mass stars from the main sequence through the helium-core flash to the HB for a wide range in the mass loss along the red-giant branch (RGB). Stars with the largest mass loss evolve off the RGB to high effective temperatures before igniting helium in their cores. Our results indicate that the subluminous EHB stars, as well as the gap within the EHB of NGC 2808, can be explained if these stars undergo a late helium-core flash on the white-dwarf cooling curve. Under these conditions the flash convection will penetrate into the stellar envelope, thereby mixing most, if not all, of the envelope hydrogen into the hot helium- burning interior. This phenomenon is analogous to the "born-again" scenario for producing hydrogen-deficient stars during a very late helium-shell flash. "Flash mixing" greatly enhances the envelope helium and carbon abundances and, as a result, leads to an abrupt increase in the HB effective temperature. We argue that the EHB gap in NGC 2808 is caused by this theoretically predicted dichotomy in the HB morphology. Using new helium- and carbon-rich stellar atmospheres, we show that the flash-mixed stars have the same reduced UV flux as the subluminous EHB stars. Moreover, we demonstrate that models without flash mixing lie, at most, ~0.1 mag below the EHB and hence fail to explain the observations. Flash mixing may also provide a new evolutionary channel for producing the high gravity, He-rich sdO and sdB stars.Comment: 8 pages, 5 figures, to appear in "Omega Centauri: a Unique Window into Astrophysics" (Cambridge, August, 2001), ASP Conf. Ser., edited by F. van Leeuwen, G. Piotto, and J. Hughe

    The Discovery of Pulsating Hot Subdwarfs in NGC 2808

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    We present the results of a Hubble Space Telescope program to search for pulsating hot subdwarfs in the core of NGC 2808. These observations were motivated by the recent discovery of such stars in the outskirts of omega Cen. Both NGC 2808 and omega Cen are massive globular clusters exhibiting complex stellar populations and large numbers of extreme horizontal branch stars. Our far-UV photometric monitoring of over 100 hot evolved stars has revealed six pulsating subdwarfs with periods ranging from 85 to 149 s and UV amplitudes of 2.0 to 6.8%. In the UV color-magnitude diagram of NGC 2808, all six of these stars lie immediately below the canonical horizontal branch, a region populated by the subluminous "blue-hook" stars. For three of these six pulsators, we also have low-resolution far-UV spectroscopy that is sufficient to broadly constrain their atmospheric abundances and effective temperatures. Curiously, and in contrast to the omega Cen pulsators, the NGC 2808 pulsators do not exhibit the spectroscopic or photometric uniformity one might expect from a well-defined instability strip, although they all fall within a narrow band (0.2 mag) of far-UV luminosity.Comment: 5 pages, 1 table, 2 color and 2 grayscale figures. Accepted for publication in The Astrophysical Journal Letter

    The Rapidly Rotating, Hydrogen Deficient, Hot Post-Asymptotic Giant Branch Star ZNG 1 in the Globular Cluster M5

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    We report observations of the hot post-asymptotic giant branch star ZNG 1 in the globular cluster M5 (NGC 5904) with the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE). From the resulting spectrum, we derive an effective temperature T_eff = 44300 +/- 300 K, a surface gravity log g = 4.3 +/- 0.1, a rotational velocity v sin i = 170 +/- 20 km/s, and a luminosity log (L/L_sun) = 3.52 +/- 0.04. The atmosphere is helium-rich (Y = 0.93), with enhanced carbon (2.6% by mass), nitrogen (0.51%) and oxygen (0.37%) abundances. The spectrum shows evidence for a wind with terminal velocity near 1000 km/s and an expanding shell of carbon- and nitrogen-rich material around the star. The abundance pattern of ZNG 1 is suggestive of the ``born-again'' scenario, whereby a star on the white-dwarf cooling curve undergoes a very late shell flash and returns to the AGB, but the star's rapid rotation is more easily explained by a previous interaction with a binary companion.Comment: 8 pages, 2 PostScript figures, Latex with emulateapj5. Accepted for publication in ApJ Letter

    Evidence for Flash Mixing in He-rich sdB Stars

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    We present FUSE spectra of three He-rich sdB stars. Two of these stars, PG1544+488 and JL87, reveal extremely strong C III lines, suggesting that they have mixed triple-alpha carbon from the deep interior out to their surfaces. Using TLUSTY NLTE line-blanketed model atmospheres, we find that PG1544+488 has a surface composition of 96% He, 2% C, and 1% N. JL87 shows a similar surface enrichment of C and N but still retains a significant amount of hydrogen. In contrast, the third star, LB1766, is devoid of hydrogen and strongly depleted of carbon, indicating that its surface material has undergone CN-cycle processing. We interpret these observations with new evolutionary calculations which suggest that He-rich sdB stars with C-rich compositions arise from a delayed helium-core flash on the white-dwarf cooling curve. During such a flash the interior convection zone will penetrate into the stellar envelope, thereby mixing the envelope with the He- and C-rich core. Such "flash-mixed" stars will arrive on the extreme horizontal branch (EHB) with He- and C-rich surface compositions and will be hotter than the hottest canonical EHB stars. Two types of flash mixing are possible: "deep" and "shallow", depending on whether the hydrogen envelope is mixed deeply into the site of the helium flash or only with the outer layers of the core. Based on both their stellar parameters and surface compositions, we suggest that PG1544+488 and JL87 are examples of "deep" and "shallow" flash mixing, respectively.Comment: 4 pages, 2 figures, to appear in "Extreme Horizontal Branch Stars and Related Objects", Astrophysics and Space Science, Kluwer Academic Publishers, edited by P. Maxte

    Flash Mixing of the White Dwarf Cooling Curve Spectroscopic Confirmation in NGC 2808

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    We present new HST far-UV spectroscopy of two dozen hot evolved stars in NGC 2808, a massive globular cluster with a large population of "blue-hook" stars. The blue-hook stars are found in ultraviolet color-magnitude diagrams of the most massive globular clusters, where they fall at luminosities immediately below the hot end of the horizontal branch (HB), in a region of the HR diagram unexplained by canonical stellar evolution theory. Using new theoretical evolutionary and atmospheric models, we have shown that these subluminous HB stars are very likely the progeny of stars that undergo extensive internal mixing during a late He-core flash on the white dwarf cooling curve. This flash mixing leads to hotter temperatures and an enormous enhancement of the surface He and C abundances; the hotter temperatures and associated decrease in the hydrogen opacity shortward of the Lyman limit makes the stars brighter in the extreme UV but appear sub luminous in the UV and optical. Our far-UV spectroscopy demonstrates that, relative to normal HB stars at the same color, the blue-hook stars of NGC 2808 are hotter and greatly enhanced in He and C, thus providing unambiguous evidence of flash mixing in the subluminous population. Although the C abundance in the blue-hook stars is orders of magnitude larger than that in the normal HB stars, the atmospheric C abundance in both the blue-hook and normal HB stars appears to be affected by gravitational settling. The abundance variations seen in C, Si, and the Fe-peak elements indicate that atmospheric diffusion is at play in our sample, with all of our hot subdwarfs at 25,000 K to 50,000 K exhibiting large enhancements of the iron-peak elements. The hottest subdwarfs in our blue-hook sample may be pulsators, given that they fall in the temperature range of newly-discovered pulsating subdwarfs in omega Cen

    New Observational Evidence of Flash Mixing on the White Dwarf Cooling Curve

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    Blue hook stars are a class of subluminous extreme horizontal branch stars that were discovered in UV images of the massive globular clusters omega Cen and NGC 2808. These stars occupy a region of the HR diagram that is unexplained by canonical stellar evolution theory. Using new theoretical evolutionary and atmospheric models, we have shown that the blue hook stars are very likely the progeny of stars that undergo extensive internal mixing during a late helium-core flash on the white dwarf cooling curve. This "flash mixing" produces hotter-than-normal EHB stars with atmospheres significantly enhanced in helium and carbon. The larger bolometric correction, combined with the decrease in hydrogen opacity, makes these stars appear subluminous in the optical and UV. Flash mixing is more likely to occur in stars born with a high helium abundance, due to their lower mass at the main sequence turnoff. For this reason, the phenomenon is more common in those massive globular clusters that show evidence for secondary populations enhanced in helium. However, a high helium abundance does not, by itself, explain the presence of blue hook stars in massive globular clusters. Here, we present new observational evidence for flash mixing, using recent HST observations. These include UV color-magnitude diagrams of six massive globular clusters and far-UV spectroscopy of hot subdwarfs in one of these clusters (NGC 2808).Comment: To appear in the Proceedings of the Fifth Meeting on Hot Subdwarf Stars and Related Objects (sdOB5), 25 - 29 July 2011, Stellenbosch, South Africa. ASP Conference Series, 10 pages, 5 figures, LaTe
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