WFU Department of Physics Wake Forest University


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WFU Physics Colloquium

TITLE: The Coolest Little Hot Stars You've Never Heard Of SPEAKER: Brad N. Barlow,

Department of Physics
High Point University

TIME: Wednesday February 12, 2014 at 4:00 PM

PLACE: Room 101 Olin Physical Laboratory

Refreshments will be served at 3:30 PM in the Olin Lounge. All interested persons are cordially invited to attend.


The enigmatic hot subdwarf stars represent one of the least-understood stages of stellar evolution. Theory shows they likely formed from red giants that lost their outer hydrogen envelopes due to Roche lobe overflow and common envelope interactions with a nearby companion star. Observations support this idea as the large majority of hot subdwarfs are, in fact, in binaries. Although binary population synthesis models are generally successful at forming hot subdwarf systems, these models are relatively unconstrained and fail at predicting their orbital periods and companion masses. Here I will (i) give a brief introduction to hot subdwarf stars, (ii) describe three main techniques we use to detect binaries with varying companion masses, and (iii) discuss new systems we found that are in disagreement with current theoretical predictions. Along the way, I will also present the discovery of a hot subdwarf binary that will likely explode as a Type 1a supernova; this system has interesting implications for cosmology.

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100 Olin Physical Laboratory
Wake Forest University
Winston-Salem, NC 27109-7507
Phone: (336) 758-5337, FAX: (336) 758-6142