We report the discovery of HE 0430-2457, the first extremely low-mass pre-white dwarf (ELM pre-WD) in a long period binary (P = 771 ± 3 d). The spectroscopic parameters of the primary are determined to be Teff = 26 200 ± 1500K and log g = 5.40 ± 0.35, placing it in the region occupied by core He-burning hot subdwarf B stars. By comparing the spectroscopic parameters of the K-type companion to stellar models, and using the mass ratio, the mass of the hot primary is determined to be 0.23 M⊙. Given that this is too low for core He-burning, the primary in HE 0430-2457 is not an extreme horizontal branch (EHB) star but a pre-WD of the ELM type. As the lifetime of ELM pre-WDs in this region of the Hertzsprung Russel diagram populated by EHBs is thought to be very short, they are not considered to be part of the observed EHBs. However, the discovery of this system indicates that the percentage of ELM pre-WDs in the observed EHB population might be higher than previously thought. Binary evolution models indicate that HE 0430-2457 is likely formed by a merger of the inner binary in a hierarchical triple system.

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This article has been accepted for publication in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. ©: 2018 the authors. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Royal Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.


Binaries: spectroscopic, Stars: evolution, White dwarfs

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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters