April 2018 • 2018MNRAS.475.2560V
Abstract • We report on the discovery and analysis of 36 new eclipsing EL CVn-type binaries, consisting of a core helium-composition pre-white dwarf (pre-He-WD) and an early-type main-sequence companion. This more than doubles the known population of these systems. We have used supervised machine learning methods to search 0.8 million light curves from the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF), combined with Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS) and Two-Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS) colours. The new systems range in orbital periods from 0.46 to 3.8 d and in apparent brightness from ∼14 to 16 mag in the PTF R or g΄ filters. For 12 of the systems, we obtained radial velocity curves with the Intermediate Dispersion Spectrograph at the Isaac Newton Telescope. We modelled the light curves, radial velocity curves and spectral energy distributions to determine the system parameters. The radii (0.3-0.7 R⊙) and effective temperatures (8000-17 000 K) of the pre-He-WDs are consistent with stellar evolution models, but the masses (0.12-0.28 M⊙) show more variance than models have predicted. This study shows that using machine learning techniques on large synoptic survey data is a powerful way to discover substantial samples of binary systems in short-lived evolutionary stages.