Volume 611, March 2018
|Number of page(s)||13|
|Section||Stellar structure and evolution|
|Published online||23 March 2018|
The quest for stable circumbinary companions to post-common envelope sdB eclipsing binaries★
Does the observational evidence support their existence?
British Astronomical Association,
Piccadilly, London W1J 0DU, UK
e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Accepted: 3 November 2017
Context. Period variations have been detected in a number of eclipsing close compact binary subdwarf B stars (sdBs) and these have often been interpreted as being caused by circumbinary massive planets or brown dwarfs. According to canonical binary models, the majority of sdB systems are produced from low mass stars with degenerate cores where helium is ignited in flashes. Various evolutionary scenarios have been proposed for these stars, but a definite mechanism remains to be established. Equally puzzling is the formation of these putative circumbinary objects which must have formed from the remaining post-common envelope circumbinary disk or survived its evolution.
Aim. In this paper we review the eclipse time variations (ETVs) exhibited by seven such systems (EC 10246-2707, HS 0705+6700, HS 2231+2441, J08205+0008, NSVS 07826147, NSVS 14256825, and NY Vir) and explore whether there is conclusive evidence that the ETVs observed over the last two decades can reliably predict the presence of one or more circumbinary bodies.
Methods. We report 246 new observations of the seven sdB systems made between 2013 September and 2017 July using a worldwide network of telescopes. We combined our new data with previously published measurements to analyse the ETVs of these systems.
Results. Our data show that period variations cannot be modelled simply on the basis of circumbinary objects. This implies that more complex processes may be taking place in these systems. These difficulties are compounded by the secondary star not being spectroscopically visible. From ETVs, it has historically been suggested that five of the seven binary systems reported here had circumbinary objects. Based on our recent observations and analysis, only three systems remain serious contenders. We find agreement with other observers that at least a decade of observations is required to establish reliable ephemerides. With longer observational baselines it is quite conceivable that the data will support the circumbinary object hypothesis of these binary systems. Also, we generally agree with other observers that higher values of (O–C) residuals are found with secondary companions of spectral type M5/6 (or possibly earlier as a result of an Applegate type mechanism).
Key words: binaries: close / binaries: eclipsing / planetary systems / planets and satellites: formation / subdwarfs
Full Tables A.1–A.3 are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (18.104.22.168) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/611/A48
© ESO 2018
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