Volume 633, January 2020
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Section||Letters to the Editor|
|Published online||10 January 2020|
Letter to the Editor
A stripped helium star in the potential black hole binary LB-1
Dr. Karl Remeis-Observatory & ECAP, Astronomical Institute, Friedrich-Alexander University Erlangen-Nuremberg (FAU), Sternwartstr. 7, 96049 Bamberg, Germany
2 Institut für Physik und Astronomie, Universität Potsdam, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24/25, 14476 Potsdam, Germany
Accepted: 1 January 2020
Context. The recently claimed discovery of a massive (MBH = 68−13+11 M⊙) black hole in the Galactic solar neighborhood has led to controversial discussions because it severely challenges our current view of stellar evolution.
Aims. A crucial aspect for the determination of the mass of the unseen black hole is the precise nature of its visible companion, the B-type star LS V+22 25. Because stars of different mass can exhibit B-type spectra during the course of their evolution, it is essential to obtain a comprehensive picture of the star to unravel its nature and, thus, its mass.
Methods. To this end, we study the spectral energy distribution of LS V+22 25 and perform a quantitative spectroscopic analysis that includes the determination of chemical abundances for He, C, N, O, Ne, Mg, Al, Si, S, Ar, and Fe.
Results. Our analysis clearly shows that LS V+22 25 is not an ordinary main sequence B-type star. The derived abundance pattern exhibits heavy imprints of the CNO bi-cycle of hydrogen burning, that is, He and N are strongly enriched at the expense of C and O. Moreover, the elements Mg, Al, Si, S, Ar, and Fe are systematically underabundant when compared to normal main-sequence B-type stars. We suggest that LS V+22 25 is a stripped helium star and discuss two possible formation scenarios. Combining our photometric and spectroscopic results with the Gaia parallax, we infer a stellar mass of 1.1 ± 0.5 M⊙. Based on the binary system’s mass function, this yields a minimum mass of 2–3 M⊙ for the compact companion, which implies that it may not necessarily be a black hole but a massive neutron- or main sequence star.
Conclusions. The star LS V+22 25 has become famous for possibly having a very massive black hole companion. However, a closer look reveals that the star itself is a very intriguing object. Further investigations are necessary for complete characterization of this object.
Key words: stars: abundances / stars: chemically peculiar / stars: early-type / pulsars: individual: LS V+22 25
© ESO 2020
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