214 research outputs found

    The population of hot subdwarf stars studied with Gaia II. The Gaia DR2 catalogue of hot subluminous stars

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    Based on data from the ESA Gaia Data Release 2 (DR2) and several ground-based, multi-band photometry surveys we compiled an all-sky catalogue of 3980039\,800 hot subluminous star candidates selected in Gaia DR2 by means of colour, absolute magnitude and reduced proper motion cuts. We expect the majority of the candidates to be hot subdwarf stars of spectral type B and O, followed by blue horizontal branch stars of late B-type (HBB), hot post-AGB stars, and central stars of planetary nebulae. The contamination by cooler stars should be about 10%10\%. The catalogue is magnitude limited to Gaia G<19magG<19\,{\rm mag} and covers the whole sky. Except within the Galactic plane and LMC/SMC regions, we expect the catalogue to be almost complete up to about 1.5kpc1.5\,{\rm kpc}. The main purpose of this catalogue is to serve as input target list for the large-scale photometric and spectroscopic surveys which are ongoing or scheduled to start in the coming years. In the long run, securing a statistically significant sample of spectroscopically confirmed hot subluminous stars is key to advance towards a more detailed understanding of the latest stages of stellar evolution for single and binary stars.Comment: 13 pages, A&A, accepte

    The Field White Dwarf Mass Distribution

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    We revisit the properties and astrophysical implications of the field white dwarf mass distribution in preparation of Gaia applications. Our study is based on the two samples with the best established completeness and most precise atmospheric parameters, the volume-complete survey within 20 pc and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) magnitude-limited sample. We explore the modelling of the observed mass distributions with Monte Carlo simulations, but find that it is difficult to constrain independently the initial mass function (IMF), the initial-to-final-mass relation (IFMR), the stellar formation history (SFH), the variation of the Galactic disk vertical scale height as a function of stellar age, and binary evolution. Each of these input ingredients has a moderate effect on the predicted mass distributions, and we must also take into account biases owing to unidentified faint objects (20 pc sample), as well as unknown masses for magnetic white dwarfs and spectroscopic calibration issues (SDSS sample). Nevertheless, we find that fixed standard assumptions for the above parameters result in predicted mean masses that are in good qualitative agreement with the observed values. It suggests that derived masses for both studied samples are consistent with our current knowledge of stellar and Galactic evolution. Our simulations overpredict by 40-50% the number of massive white dwarfs (M > 0.75 Msun) for both surveys, although we can not exclude a Salpeter IMF when we account for all biases. Furthermore, we find no evidence of a population of double white dwarf mergers in the observed mass distributions.Comment: 15 pages, 16 figures, accepted for publication in MNRA

    First results of an Hα based search of classical Be stars in the Perseus Arm and beyond

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    We investigate a region of the Galactic plane, between 120° ≤ l ≤ 140° and-1° ≤ b≤+4°, and uncover a population of moderately reddened (E(B-V) ~ 1) classical Be stars within and beyond the Perseus and Outer Arms. 370 candidate emission-line stars (13≲r≲16) selected from the Isaac Newton Telescope Photometric Ha Survey of the Northern Galactic plane have been followed up spectroscopically. A subset of these, 67 stars with properties consistent with those of classical Be stars, have been observed at sufficient spectral resolution (δλ ≈ 2-4 Å) at blue wavelengths to narrow down their spectral types. We determine these to a precision estimated to be ±1 subtype and then we measure reddenings via spectral energy distribution fitting with reference to appropriate model atmospheres. Corrections for contribution to colour excess from circumstellar discs are made using an established scaling to Ha emission equivalent width. Spectroscopic parallaxes are obtained after luminosity class has been constrained via estimates of distances to neighbouring A/F stars with similar reddenings. Overwhelmingly, the stars in the sample are confirmed as luminous classical Be stars at heliocentric distances ranging from 2 kpc up to ~12 kpc. However, the errors are presently too large to enable the cumulative distribution function with respect to distance to distinguish between models placing the stars exclusively in spiral arms, or in a smooth exponentially declining distribution.Peer reviewe

    When flux standards go wild: white dwarfs in the age of Kepler

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    White dwarf stars have been used as flux standards for decades, thanks to their staid simplicity. We have empirically tested their photometric stability by analyzing the light curves of 398 high-probability candidates and spectroscopically confirmed white dwarfs observed during the original Kepler mission and later with K2 Campaigns 0-8. We find that the vast majority (>97 per cent) of non-pulsating and apparently isolated white dwarfs are stable to better than 1 per cent in the Kepler bandpass on 1-hr to 10-d timescales, confirming that these stellar remnants are useful flux standards. From the cases that do exhibit significant variability, we caution that binarity, magnetism, and pulsations are three important attributes to rule out when establishing white dwarfs as flux standards, especially those hotter than 30,000 K.Comment: Accepted for publication in MNRAS; 7 pages, 4 figures, 2 table

    Towards a volumetric census of close white dwarf binaries I.Reference samples

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    Close white dwarf binaries play an important role across a range of astrophysics, including thermonuclear supernovae, the Galactic low-frequency gravitational wave signal, and the chemical evolution of the Galaxy. Progress in developing a detailed understanding of the complex, multi-threaded evolutionary pathways of these systems is limited by the lack of statistically sound observational constraints on the relative fractions of various sub-populations, and their physical properties. The available samples are small, heterogeneous, and subject to a multitude of observational biases. Our overarching goal is to establish a volume-limited sample of all types of white dwarf binaries that is representative of the underlying population as well as sufficiently large to serve as a benchmark for future binary population models. In this first paper, we provide an overview of the project, and assemble reference samples within a distance limit of 300\,pc of known white dwarf binaries spanning the most common sub-classes: post-common envelope binaries containing a white dwarf plus a main sequence star, cataclysmic variables and double-degenerate binaries. We carefully vet the members of these "Gold" Samples, which span most of the evolutionary parameter space of close white dwarf binary evolution. We also explore the differences between magnitude and volume limited close white dwarf binary samples, and discuss how these systems evolve in their observational properties across the Gaia Hertzsprung-Russell diagram.Comment: Accepted for publication in MNRAS on 11/3/2021 following peer revie

    The extremely red L dwarf ULAS J222711-004547-dominated by dust

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    We report the discovery of a peculiar L dwarf from the United Kingdom Infrared Deep Sky Survey Large Area Survey, ULAS J222711-004547. The very red infrared photometry (MKO J-K = 2.79 +/- 0.06, WISEW1-W2 = 0.65 +/- 0.05) of ULAS J222711-004547 makes it one of the reddest brown dwarfs discovered so far. We obtained a moderate resolution spectrum of this target using the XSHOOTER spectrograph on the Very Large Telescope, and we classify it as L7pec, confirming its very red nature. Comparison to theoretical models suggests that the object could be a low-gravity L dwarf with a solar or higher than solar metallicity. Nonetheless, the match of such fits to the spectral energy distribution is rather poor, and this and other less red peculiar L dwarfs pose new challenges for the modelling of ultracool atmospheres, especially to the understanding of the effects of condensates and their sensitivity to gravity and metallicity. We determined the proper motion of ULAS J222711-004547 using the data available in the literature, and we find that its kinematics do not suggest membership of any of the known young associations. We show that applying a simple de-reddening curve to its spectrum allows it to resemble the spectra of the L7 spectroscopic standards without any spectral features that distinguish it as a low-metallicity or low-gravity dwarf. Given the negligible interstellar reddening of the field containing our target, we conclude that the reddening of the spectrum is mostly due to an excess of dust in the photosphere of the target. De-reddening the spectrum using extinction curves for different dust species gives surprisingly good results and suggests a characteristic grain size of similar to 0.5 mu m. We show that by increasing the optical depth, the same extinction curves allow the spectrum of ULAS J222711-004547 to resemble the spectra of unusually blue L dwarfs and even slightly metal-poor L dwarfs. Grains of similar size also yield very good fits when de-reddening other unusually red L dwarfs in the L5-L7.5 range. These results suggest that the diversity in near-infrared colours and spectra seen in late L dwarfs could be due to differences in the optical thickness of the dust cloud deck.Peer reviewe

    A 3D extinction map of the northern Galactic plane based on IPHAS photometry

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    This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. ©: 2014 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.We present a 3D map of extinction in the northern Galactic plane derived using photometry from the INT/WFC Photometric Hα Survey of the northern Galactic plane. The map has fine angular (~10 arcmin) and distance (100 pc) sampling allied to a significant depth (≳5 kpc). We construct the map using a method based on a hierarchical Bayesian model described in a previous article by Sale. In addition to mean extinction, we also measure differential extinction, which arises from the fractal nature of the interstellar medium, and show that it will be the dominant source of uncertainty in estimates of extinction to some arbitrary position. The method applied also furnishes us with photometric estimates of the distance, extinction, effective temperature, surface gravity, and mass for ~38 million stars. Both the extinction map and the catalogue of stellar parameters are made publicly available via http://www.iphas.org/extinction.Peer reviewe

    Role of xanthophyll cycle-mediated photoprotection in Arbutus unedo plants exposed to water stress during the Mediterranean summer

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    We analyzed the response of potted strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo L.) seedlings exposed to water stress by withholding water for 10 d (WS). Leaf water potential, net CO2 assimilation, and stomatal conductance decreased with increasing water deficit. A 30 % reduction of chlorophyll (Chl) content in the antenna complexes was observed in WS-plants. Simultaneously, a decline of photochemical efficiency (F-v/F-m) occurred as a result of an excess of solar radiation energy when carbon assimilation was limited by stomata closure due to soil water deficit. The non-photochemical quenching of Chl fluorescence (Phi(NPQ)) significantly increased, as well as the leaf contents of zeaxanthin (Z) and antheraxanthin (A) at the expense of violaxanthin during the WS-period. Elevated predawn contents of de-epoxidized xanthophyll cycle components were associated with a sustained lowering of predawn photosystem 2 efficiency; this suggested an engagement of Z+A in a state primed for energy dissipation. Thus, the ability of strawberry trees to maintain the functionality of the xanthophyll cycle during the Mediterranean summer is an efficient mechanism to prevent irreversible damages to the photosynthetic machinery through thermal energy dissipation in the antenna and the reduction in photochemical efficiency

    Variable emission from a gaseous disc around a metal-polluted white dwarf

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    We present the discovery of strongly variable emission lines from a gaseous disc around the DA white dwarf SDSS J1617+1620, a star previously found to have an infrared excess indicative of a dusty debris disc formed by the tidal disruption of a rocky planetary body. Time series spectroscopy obtained during the period 2006–2014 has shown the appearance of strong double-peaked Ca II emission lines in 2008. The lines were weak, at best, during earlier observations, and monotonically faded through the remainder of our monitoring. Our observations represent unambiguous evidence for short-term variability in the debris environment of evolved planetary systems. Possible explanations for this extraordinary variability include the impact on to the dusty disc of either a single small rocky planetesimal, or of material from a highly eccentric debris tail. The increase in flux from the emission lines is sufficient that similar events could be detected in the broad-band photometry of ongoing and future large-area time domain surveys