Hot subdwarf stars in close-up view
II. Rotational properties of single and wide binary subdwarf B stars⋆
S. Geier and U. Heber
Dr. Karl Remeis-Observatory & ECAP, Astronomical Institute, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Sternwartstr. 7, 96049 Bamberg, Germany
Received: 23 April 2012
Accepted: 7 June 2012
Subluminous B stars (sdBs) form the extremely hot end of the horizontal branch and are therefore related to the blue horizontal branch (BHB) stars. While the rotational properties of BHB stars have been investigated extensively, studies of sdB stars have concentrated on close binaries that are influenced by tidal interactions between their components. Here we present a study of 105 sdB stars, which are either single stars or in wide binaries where tidal effects become negligible. The projected rotational velocities have been determined by measuring the broadening of metal lines using high-resolution optical spectra. All stars in our sample are slow rotators (vrotsini < 10 km s-1). Furthermore, the vrotsini-distributions of single sdBs are similar to those of hot subdwarfs in wide binaries with main-sequence companions as well as close binary systems with unseen companions and periods exceeding ≃1.2 d. We show that blue horizontal and extreme horizontal branch stars are also related in terms of surface rotation and angular momentum. Hot BHB stars (Teff > 11 500 K) with diffusion-dominated atmospheres are slow rotators like the hot subdwarf stars located on the extreme horizontal branch, which lost more envelope and therefore angular momentum in the red-giant phase. The uniform rotation distributions of single and wide binary sdBs pose a challenge to our understanding of hot subdwarf formation. Especially the high fraction of helium white dwarf mergers predicted by theory seems to be inconsistent with the results presented here.
Key words: binaries: spectroscopic / subdwarfs / stars: rotation
Based on observations at the Paranal Observatory of the European Southern Observatory for programmes number 165.H-0588(A), 167.D-0407(A), 071.D-0380(A) and 072.D-0487(A). Based on observations at the La Silla Observatory of the European Southern Observatory for programmes number 073.D-0495(A), 074.B-0455(A), 076.D-0355(A), 077.D-0515(A) and 078.D-0098(A). Based on observations collected at the Centro Astronómico Hispano Alemán (CAHA) at Calar Alto, operated jointly by the Max-Planck Institut für Astronomie and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Andalucía (CSIC). Some of the data presented here were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. Based on data obtained with the Hobby-Eberly Telescope (HET), which is a joint project of the University of Texas at Austin, the Pennsylvania State University, Stanford University, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, and Georg-August-Universität Göttingen.
© ESO, 2012