AAVSO: American Association of Variable Star Observers

A Search for Extreme Horizontal Branch Stars in the General Field Population (Abstract)

Volume 42 number 2 (2014)

Douglas Walker
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand; douglas.walker@pg.canterbury.ac.nz
Michael Albrow
Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand; michael.albrow@pg.canterbury.ac.nz


(Abstract only) The study of pulsating Extreme Horizontal Branch (EHB) stars in globular clusters is a new field of stellar research. The initial discovery of three rapidly pulsating EHB stars in w Centauri was announced at the Fourth Meeting on Hot Subdwarfs and Related Objects held in Shanghai in July 2009. A fourth sdB pulsator was discovered in the remaining photometry data soon afterwards; all were discovered in data obtained by the New Techology Telescope. In March 2013, the Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph (STIS) was utilized on five consecutive orbits to obtain far-UV imagery of NGC 2808’s core, revealing six sdB pulsators with periods 85 to 149 seconds and UV amplitudes from 2.0 to 6.8%. To date (April 2014), these ten EHB pulsators in w Centauri and NGC 2808 form a unique class of EHB variable closely clustered around Teff ~ 50,000 K. This talk describes an initial candidate search for EHB rapidly pulsating sdB stars in the general galactic field population. The search was conducted with the 1-m McLellan telescope at the Mt. John University Observatory (MJUO) at Lake Tekapo, New Zealand. Observations were conducted utilizing a special high speed f/8 frame-transfer camera called the Puoko-nui. The candidate set of stars was taken from the Edinburgh-Cape Blue Object Survey based on the selection criteria of a (B-V) value of -0.32 to -0.36, corresponding to the desired temperature range Teff ranging from 40,000 to 64,000 K. The objective of this search was to determine whether smaller size telescopes could identify promising sets of candidate sdB pulsators which could be followed up with larger professional systems.