Companions of post-common envelope sdB binaries

Elizabeth M. Green, Biqing For, Elaina A. Hyde, Ivo R. Seitenzahl, Keith Callerame, Brooke A. White, Corryn N. Young, Christopher S. Huff, Jay Mills, Justin D.R. Steinfadt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Preliminary results are presented from two ongoing complementary surveys intended to investigate the nature and characteristics of the optically invisible secondaries in post-common envelope subdwarf B (sdB) binary stars. We obtain precise radial velocities to derive periods and minimum companion masses for bright field sdB stars. These data are combined with light curves to search for eclipses, reflection effects, or ellipsoidal variations. We emphasize the importance of using complete unbiased samples, without which it will not be possible to understand the details of the multiple processes that produce these stars. It remains true that all known secondary companions in short-period sdB binaries are nearly invisible, thus they must be either low mass main sequence (MS) stars or compact objects, e.g., white dwarfs. In our small, nearly-complete sample, white dwarf secondaries outnumber MS secondaries by about a factor of five. Known MS masses in short-period sdB binaries are all surprisingly low, indicating a possible bimodal mass distribution for all MS secondaries in sdB binaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)267-274
Number of pages8
JournalAstrophysics and Space Science
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - 2004


  • binary stars
  • common envelope evolution
  • subdwarf B stars

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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