An observed population of intermediate-mass helium stars that have been stripped in binaries

M. R. Drout, Y. Götberg, B. A. Ludwig, J. H. Groh, S. E. de Mink, A. J.G. O’Grady, N. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

The hydrogen-rich outer layers of massive stars can be removed by interactions with a binary companion. Theoretical models predict that this stripping produces a population of hot helium stars of ~2 to 8 solar masses (M), however, only one such system has been identified thus far. We used ultraviolet photometry to identify potential stripped helium stars then investigated 25 of them using optical spectroscopy. We identified stars with high temperatures (~60,000 to 100,000 kelvin), high surface gravities, and hydrogen-depleted surfaces; 16 stars also showed binary motion. These properties match expectations for stars with initial masses of 8 to 25 M that were stripped by binary interaction. Their masses fall in the gap between subdwarf helium stars and Wolf-Rayet stars. We propose that these stars could be progenitors of stripped-envelope supernovae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1287-1292
Number of pages6
JournalScience
Volume382
Issue number6676
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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