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A subdwarf, sometimes denoted by "sd", is a star with luminosity class VI under the Yerkes spectral classification system. They are defined as stars with luminosity 1.5 to 2 magnitudes lower than that of main-sequence stars of the same spectral type. On a Hertzsprung–Russell diagram subdwarfs appear to lie below the main sequence.

The term "subdwarf" was coined by Gerard Kuiper in 1939, to refer to a series of stars with anomalous spectra that were previously labeled as "intermediate white dwarfs".[1]

Cool subdwarfs

Like ordinary main-sequence stars, cool subdwarfs (of spectral types G to M) produce their energy from hydrogen fusion. The explanation of their underluminosity lies in their low metallicity: these stars are unenriched in elements heavier than helium. The lower metallicity decreases the opacity of their outer layers and decreases the radiation pressure, resulting in a smaller, hotter star for a given mass.[2] This lower opacity also allows them to emit a higher percentage of ultraviolet light for the same spectral type relative to a Population I star, a feature known as the ultraviolet excess.[3] Usually members of the Milky Way's halo, they frequently have high space velocities relative to the Sun.

Subclasses of cool subdwarfs are as following:[4]

Hot subdwarfs

Hot subdwarfs, of spectral types O and B, also termed "extreme horizontal-branch stars" are an entirely different class of objects to cool subdwarfs. These stars represent a late stage in the evolution of some stars, caused when a red giant star loses its outer hydrogen layers before the core begins to fuse helium. The reasons why this premature mass loss occurs are unclear, but the interaction of stars in a binary star system is thought to be one of the main mechanisms. Single subdwarfs may be the result of a merger of two white dwarfs or gravitational influence from substellar companions. B-type subdwarfs, being more luminous than white dwarfs, are a significant component in the hot star population of old stellar systems, such as globular clusters and elliptical galaxies.[6][7]

Examples of subdwarfs


  1. Ken Croswell, The Alchemy of the Heavens, (New York: Oxford UP, 1995), p. 87.
  2. James Kaler, Stars and their Spectra, (Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1989), p. 122.
  3. Ken Croswell, The Alchemy of the Heavens, (New York: Oxford UP, 1995), pp. 87–92.
  4. Burgasser, Adam J.; Kirkpatrick, J. Davy (2006). "Discovery of the Coolest Extreme Subdwarf". The Astrophysical Journal 645 (2): 1485. arXiv:astro-ph/0603382. Bibcode 2006ApJ...645.1485B. doi:10.1086/504375.
  5. Schweitzer, A.; Scholz, R.-D.; Stauffer, J.; Irwin, M.; McCaughrean, M. J. (1999). "APMPM J0559-2903: The coolest extreme subdwarf known". Astronomy and Astrophysics 350: L62. Bibcode 1999A&A...350L..62S.
  6. Jeffery, C. Simon (2005). "Pulsations in Subdwarf B Stars". Journal of Astrophysics and Astronomy 26 (2–3): 261. Bibcode 2005JApA...26..261J. doi:10.1007/BF02702334.
  7. Geier, S.; Edelmann, H.; Heber, U.; Morales-Rueda, L. (2009). "Discovery of a Close Substellar Companion to the Hot Subdwarf Star HD 149382—The Decisive Influence of Substellar Objects on Late Stellar Evolution". The Astrophysical Journal Letters 702: L96. arXiv:0908.1025. Bibcode 2009ApJ...702L..96G. doi:10.1088/0004-637X/702/1/L96.
  8. Burgasser, Adam J.; Kirkpatrick, J. Davy; Burrows, Adam; Liebert, James; Reid, I. Neill; Gizis, John E.; McGovern, Mark R.; Prato, L. et al. (2003). "The First Substellar Subdwarf? Discovery of a Metal‐poor L Dwarf with Halo Kinematics". The Astrophysical Journal 592 (2): 1186. arXiv:astro-ph/0304174. Bibcode 2003ApJ...592.1186B. doi:10.1086/375813.

Observation data
Epoch {{{epoch}}}      Equinox
Constellation {{{3}}}
Right ascension {{{ra1}}}
Declination {{{dec1}}}
Apparent magnitude (V) {{{appmag_v1}}}
Right ascension {{{ra2}}}
Declination {{{dec2}}}
Apparent magnitude (V) {{{appmag_v2}}}
Evolutionary stage {{{9}}}
Spectral type {{{7}}}
Distance{{{4}}} ly
Radius{{{5}}} R
Diameter{{{5}}} D
Luminosity (bolometric){{{11}}} L
Temperature{{{8}}} K
Other designations
{{{1}}}, {{{2}}}

{{{1}}}, also known as {{{2}}}, is a star located in the constellation {{{3}}}. It is located {{{4}}} light years away from the Earth. {{{1}}} has a diameter of {{{5}}} D, making it around the size of the orbit of {{{6}}}. {{{1}}} has a stellar class of {{{7}}} and a temperature of {{{8}}} degrees Kelvin; it is a {{{9}}} that is currently burning {{{10}}} within its core. {{{1}}} is around {{{11}}} times brighter than the Sun. {{{12}}}{{{13}}}