An extremely peculiar hot subdwarf with a 10000-fold excess of zirconium, yttrium and strontium

N. Naslim, C. S. Jeffery, N. T. Behara, A. Hibbert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Citations (Scopus)


Helium-rich subdwarf B (He-sdB) stars represent a small group of low-mass hot stars with luminosities greater than those of conventional sdB stars, and effective temperatures lower than those of subdwarf O (sdO) stars. By measuring their surface chemistry, we aim to explore the connection between He-sdB stars, He-rich sdO stars and normal sdB stars. LSIV-14°116 is a relatively intermediate He-sdB star, also known to be a photometric variable. High-resolution blue-optical spectroscopy was obtained with the Anglo-Australian Telescope. Analysis of the spectrum shows LSIV-14°116 to have effective temperature Teff= 34000 ± 500K, surface gravity logg= 5.6 ± 0.2 and surface helium abundance nHe= 0.16 ± 0.03 by number. This places the star slightly above the standard extended horizontal branch, as represented by normal sdB stars. The magnesium and silicon abundances indicate the star to be metal poor relative to the Sun. A number of significant but unfamiliar absorption lines were identified as being due to germanium, strontium, yttrium and zirconium. After calculating oscillator strengths (for Ge, Y and Zr), the photospheric abundances of these elements were established to range from 3 dex (Ge) to 4 dex (Sr, Y and Zr) above solar. The most likely explanation is that these overabundances are caused by radiatively driven diffusion forming a chemical cloud layer in the photosphere. It is conjectured that this cloud formation could be mediated by a strong magnetic field.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)363-370
Number of pages8
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Stars: chemically peculiar
  • Stars: evolution
  • Stars: mass-loss

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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