A preliminary look at the empirical mass distribution of hot B subdwarf stars

G. Fontaine, P. Brassard, S. Charpinet, E. M. Green, S. K. Randall, V. Van Grootel

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91 Scopus citations


We present the results of about a decade of efforts toward building an empirical mass distribution for hot B subdwarf stars on the basis of asteroseismology. So far, our group has published detailed analyses pertaining to 16 pulsating B subdwarfs, including estimates of the masses of these pulsators. Given that measurements of the masses of B subdwarfs through more classical methods (such as full orbital solutions in binary stars) have remained far and few, asteroseismology has proven a tool of choice in this endeavor. On the basis of a first sample of 15 pulsators, we find a relatively sharp mass distribution with a mean mass of 0.470 M , a median value of 0.470 M , and a narrow range 0.441-0.499 M containing some 68.3% of the stars. We augmented our sample with the addition of seven stars (components of eclipsing binaries) with masses reliably established through light curve modeling and spectroscopy. The new distribution is very similar to the former one with a mean mass of 0.470 M , a median value of 0.471 M , and a slightly wider range 0.439-0.501 M containing some 68.3% of the stars. Although still based on small-number statistics, our derived empirical mass distribution compares qualitatively very well with the expectations of stellar evolution theory.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberA12
JournalAstronomy and astrophysics
StatePublished - 2012


  • stars: fundamental parameters
  • stars: oscillations
  • subdwarfs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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