The MUCHFUSS project - Searching for hot subdwarf binaries with massive unseen companions : survey, target selection and atmospheric parameters

S. Geier, H. Hirsch, A. Tillich, P.F.L. Maxted, S.J. Bentley, R. Ostensen, U. Heber, B.T. Gansicke, T.R. Marsh, R. Napiwotzki, B.N. Barlow, S. O'Toole

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Abstract

The project Massive Unseen Companions to Hot Faint Underluminous Stars from SDSS (MUCHFUSS) aims at finding sdBs with compact companions like supermassive white dwarfs (M > 1.0M⊙), neutron stars or black holes. The existence of such systems is predicted by binary evolution theory and recent discoveries indicate that they are likely to exist in our Galaxy. A determination of the orbital parameters is sufficient to put a lower limit on the companion mass by calculating the binary mass function. If this lower limit exceeds the Chandrasekhar mass and no sign of a companion is visible in the spectra, the existence of a massive compact companion is proven without the need for any additional assumptions. We identified about 1100 hot subdwarf stars from the SDSS by colour selection and visual inspection of their spectra. Stars with high velocities have been reobserved and individual SDSS spectra have been analysed. In total 127 radial velocity variable subdwarfs have been discovered. Binaries with high RV shifts and binaries with moderate shifts within short timespans have the highest probability of hosting massive compact companions. Atmospheric parameters of 69 hot subdwarfs in these binary systems have been determined by means of a quantitative spectral analysis. The atmospheric parameter distribution of the selected sample does not differ from previously studied samples of hot subdwarfs. The systems are considered the best candidates to search for massive compact companions by follow-up time resolved spectroscopy.
Original languageEnglish
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Volume530
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Keywords

  • binaries : spectroscopic
  • stars : subdwarfs

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