Journal Article

An extremely peculiar hot subdwarf with a 10 000-fold excess of zirconium, yttrium and strontium

Naslim N., C. S. Jeffery, N. T. Behara and A. Hibbert

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 412, issue 1, pages 363-370
Published in print March 2011 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online March 2011 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.17909.x
An extremely peculiar hot subdwarf with a 10 000-fold excess of zirconium, yttrium and strontium

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Helium-rich subdwarf B (He-sdB) stars represent a small group of low-mass hot stars with luminosities greater than those of conventional sdB stars, and effective temperatures lower than those of subdwarf O (sdO) stars. By measuring their surface chemistry, we aim to explore the connection between He-sdB stars, He-rich sdO stars and normal sdB stars.

LS IV−14°116 is a relatively intermediate He-sdB star, also known to be a photometric variable. High-resolution blue–optical spectroscopy was obtained with the Anglo-Australian Telescope. Analysis of the spectrum shows LS IV−14°116 to have effective temperature Teff= 34 000 ± 500 K, surface gravity log g= 5.6 ± 0.2 and surface helium abundance nHe= 0.16 ± 0.03 by number. This places the star slightly above the standard extended horizontal branch, as represented by normal sdB stars. The magnesium and silicon abundances indicate the star to be metal poor relative to the Sun.

A number of significant but unfamiliar absorption lines were identified as being due to germanium, strontium, yttrium and zirconium. After calculating oscillator strengths (for Ge, Y and Zr), the photospheric abundances of these elements were established to range from 3 dex (Ge) to 4 dex (Sr, Y and Zr) above solar. The most likely explanation is that these overabundances are caused by radiatively driven diffusion forming a chemical cloud layer in the photosphere. It is conjectured that this cloud formation could be mediated by a strong magnetic field.

Keywords: stars: chemically peculiar; stars: evolution; stars: mass-loss

Journal Article.  5202 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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