WorldWideScience

Sample records for accreting white dwarfs

  1. Accretion Flows in Magnetic White Dwarf Systems

    Imamura, James N.

    2005-01-01

    We received Type A and B funding under the NASA Astrophysics Data Program for the analysis and interpretation of hard x-ray data obtained by the Rossi X-ray Timing Explorer and other NASA sponsored missions for Intermediate Polars (IPS) and Polars. For some targets, optical data was available. We reduced and analyzed the X-ray spectra and the X-ray and optical (obtained at the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory) timing data using detailed shock models (which we constructed) to place constraints on the properties of the accreting white dwarfs, the high energy emission mechanisms of white dwarfs, and the large-scale accretion flows of Polars and IPS. IPS and Polars are white dwarf mass-transfer binaries, members of the larger class of cata,clysmic variables. They differ from the bulk of the cataclysmic variables in that they contain strongly magnetic white dwarfs; the white dwarfs in Polars have B, = 7 to 230 MG and those in IPS have B, less than 10 MG. The IPS and Polars are both examples of funneled accretion flows in strong magnetic field systems. The IPS are similar to x-ray pulsars in that accretion disks form in the systems which are disrupted by the strong stellar magnetic fields of the white dwarfs near the stellar surface from where the plasma is funneled to the surface of the white dwarf. The localized hot spots formed at the footpoints of the funnels coupled with the rotation of the white dwarf leads to coherent pulsed x-ray emission. The Polars offer an example of a different accretion topology; the magnetic field of the white dwarf controls the accretion flow from near the inner Lagrangian point of the system directly to the stellar surface. Accretion disks do not form. The strong magnetic coupling generally leads to synchronous orbital/rotational motion in the Polars. The physical system in this sense resembles the Io/Jupiter system. In both IPS and Polars, pulsed emission from the infrared to x-rays is produced as the funneled flows merge onto the

  2. Dissecting accretion and outflows in accreting white dwarf binaries

    de Martino, D; Balman, S; Bernardini, F; Bianchini, A; Bode, M; Bonnet-Bidaud, J -M; Falanga, M; Greiner, J; Groot, P; Hernanz, M; Israel, G; Jose, J; Motch, C; Mouchet, M; Norton, A J; Nucita, A; Orio, M; Osborne, J; Ramsay, G; Rodriguez-Gil, P; Scaringi, S; Schwope, A; Traulsen, I; Tamburini, F

    2015-01-01

    This is a White Paper in support of the mission concept of the Large Observatory for X-ray Timing (LOFT), proposed as a medium-sized ESA mission. We discuss the potential of LOFT for the study of accreting white dwarfs. For a summary, we refer to the paper.

  3. Accretion on to Magnetic White Dwarfs

    Wickramasinghe Dayal

    2014-01-01

    The polars have no counterparts in neutron star systems and their study provides unique insights into the complex nature of the magnetospheric boundary. The observed properties of accretion shocks at the white dwarf surface such as the anomalous soft-X-ray excess and its time variability provide strong support for the hypothesis that under certain circumstances the field channelled funnel flow is “blobby”. This has been attributed to interchange instabilities such as the Magnetic Rayleigh-Taylor instability in the shocked gas at the stream-magnetosphere boundary where the stream fragments into discrete clumps of gas. As the clumps penetrate into the magnetosphere, they are shredded into smaller mass blobs via the Kelvin-Helmholtz instability that then couple on to field lines over an extended inner transition region in the orbital plane. The more massive blobs penetrate deep into the photosphere of the white dwarf releasing their energy as a reprocessed soft-X-ray black body component. Although similar instabilities are expected in the inner transition region in disced accretion albeit on a different scale there has been no direct observational evidence for blobby accretion in the generally lower field and disced IPs.

  4. Fate of accreting white dwarfs: Type I supernovae vs collapse

    Nomoto, Ken' ichi

    1986-01-01

    The final fate of accreting C + O white dwarfs is either thermonuclear explosion or collapse, if the white dwarf mass grows to the Chandrasekhar mass. We discuss how the fate depends on the initial mass, age, composition of the white dwarf and the mass accretion rate. Relatively fast accretion leads to a carbon deflagration at low central density that gives rise to a Type Ia supernova. Slower accretion induces a helium detonation that could be observed as a Type Ib supernova. If the initial mass of the C + O white dwarf is larger than 1.2 Msub solar, a carbon deflagration starts at high central density and induces a collapse of the white dwarf to form a neutron star. We examine the critical condition for which a carbon deflagration leads to collapse, not explosion. For the case of explosion, we discuss to what extent the nucleosynthesis models are consistent with spectra of Type Ia and Ib supernovae. 61 refs., 18 figs.

  5. Fate of accreting white dwarfs: Type I supernovae vs collapse

    The final fate of accreting C + O white dwarfs is either thermonuclear explosion or collapse, if the white dwarf mass grows to the Chandrasekhar mass. We discuss how the fate depends on the initial mass, age, composition of the white dwarf and the mass accretion rate. Relatively fast accretion leads to a carbon deflagration at low central density that gives rise to a Type Ia supernova. Slower accretion induces a helium detonation that could be observed as a Type Ib supernova. If the initial mass of the C + O white dwarf is larger than 1.2 Msub solar, a carbon deflagration starts at high central density and induces a collapse of the white dwarf to form a neutron star. We examine the critical condition for which a carbon deflagration leads to collapse, not explosion. For the case of explosion, we discuss to what extent the nucleosynthesis models are consistent with spectra of Type Ia and Ib supernovae. 61 refs., 18 figs

  6. Seismology of Rapidly Rotating Accreting White Dwarfs

    Townsley, Dean M; Bildsten, Lars

    2016-01-01

    A number of White Dwarfs (WDs) in cataclysmic binaries have shown brightness variations consistent with non-radial oscillations as observed in isolated WDs. A few objects have been well-characterized with photometric campaigns in the hopes of gleaning information about the mass, spin, and possibly internal structural characteristics. The novel aspect of this work is the possiblity to measure or constrain the interior structure and spin rate of WDs which have spent gigayears accreting material from their companion, undergoing thousands of nova outbursts in the process. In addition, variations in the surface temperature affect the site of mode driving, and provide unique and challenging tests for mode driving theories previously applied to isolated WD's. Having undergone long-term accretion, these WDs are expected to have been spun up. Spin periods in the range 60-100 seconds have been measured by other means for two objects, GW Lib and V455 And. Compared to typical mode frequencies, the spin frequency may be s...

  7. Active states and structure transformations in accreting white dwarfs

    Boneva, Daniela; Kaygorodov, Pavel

    2016-07-01

    Active states in white dwarfs are usually associated with light curve's effects that concern to the bursts, flickering or flare-up occurrences. It is common that a gas-dynamics source exists for each of these processes there. We consider the white dwarf binary stars with accretion disc around the primary. We suggest a flow transformation modeling of the mechanisms that are responsible for ability to cause some flow instability and bring the white dwarfs system to the outburst's development. The processes that cause the accretion rate to sufficiently increase are discussed. Then the transition from a quiescent to an active state is realized. We analyze a quasi-periodic variability in the luminosity of white dwarf binary stars systems. The results are supported with an observational data.

  8. Oxygen neutronization in accreting white dwarfs

    Bravo Guil, Eduardo; Isern Vilaboy, Jordi; Labay, Javier; Canal Masgoret, Ramon

    1983-01-01

    Solid carbon-oxygen white dwarf cores have been shown to be likely initial configurations for collapse to neutron star densities. Solidification seems to entail carbon/oxygen separation, with oxygen settling at the star's center and carbon being confined to more external, lower-density layers. Electron captures on 16O are then the triggering mechanism for collapse. The authors elucidate the outcome of the complete reaction network started by those captures and derive simple expressions for ac...

  9. An analytical model of accretion onto white dwarfs

    Ospina, N.; Hernanz, M.

    2013-05-01

    The analytical model of Frank et al. (2002) has been used to investigate the structure of the accretion stream onto white dwarfs (WD). In particular, the post-shock region (temperature, density and gas velocity distributions) and X-ray spectrum emitted by this region. We have obtained the temperature, density and gas velocity distributions of the emission region for different masses of white dwarfs and at different positions in the shock coordinate. Also, we calculated the emitted spectrum for different WD masses and at different positions of the shock with the principal objective of study the accretion at different points of the emission region.

  10. Progenitors of the Accretion-Induced Collapse of White Dwarfs

    Kwiatkowski, Damian

    2015-01-01

    Recent calculations of accretion-induced collapse of an oxygen-neon-magnesium white dwarf into a neutron star [Piro & Thompson 2014] allow for a potentially detectable transient electromagnetic signal. Motivated by these results, I present theoretical rates and physical properties of binary stars that can produce accretion-induced collapse. The rates are presented for various types of host galaxies (e.g. old ellipticals versus spirals) and are differentiated by the donor star type (e.g. large giant star versus compact helium-rich donor). Results presented in this thesis may help to guide near-future electromagnetic transient search campaigns to find likely candidates for accretion-induced collapse events. My predictions are based on binary evolution calculations that include the most recent updates on mass accretion and secular mass growth of white dwarfs. I find that the most likely systems that undergo accretion-induced collapse consist of an ONeMg white dwarf with a Hertzsprung gap star or a red giant ...

  11. Turbulent Mixing on Helium-Accreting White Dwarfs

    Piro, Anthony L

    2015-01-01

    An attractive scenario for producing Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) is a double detonation, where detonation of an accreted helium layer triggers ignition of a C/O core. Whether or not such a mechanism can explain some or most SNe Ia depends on the properties of the helium burning, which in turn is set by the composition of the surface material. Using a combination of semi-analytic and simple numerical models, I explore when turbulent mixing due to hydrodynamic instabilities during the accretion process can mix C/O core material up into the accreted helium. Mixing is strongest at high accretion rates, large white dwarf (WD) masses, and slow spin rates. The mixing would result in subsequent helium burning that better matches the observed properties of SNe Ia. In some cases, there is considerable mixing that can lead to more than 50% C/O in the accreted layer at the time of ignition. These results will hopefully motivate future theoretical studies of such strongly mixed conditions. Mixing also has implications for...

  12. Disk Accretion of Tidally Disrupted Rocky Bodies onto White Dwarfs

    Feng, Wanda; Desch, Steven; Turner, Neal; Kalyaan, Anusha

    2016-06-01

    About 1/3 of white dwarfs (WDs) are polluted with heavy elements (e.g., Koester et al., 2014; Zuckerman et al., 2010) that should sediment out of their atmospheres on astronomically short timescales unless replenished by accretion from a reservoir, at rates that for many WDs must exceed ~1010 g/s (Farihi et al., 2010). Direct accretion of planetesimals is too improbable and Poynting-Robertson drag of dust is too slow (due to the low luminosity of WDs) (Jura, 2003), so it is often assumed that WDs accrete from a disk of gas and solid particles, fed by tidal disruption of planeteismals inside the WD Roche limit (e.g. Debes et al., 2012; Rafikov, 2011a, 2011b). A few such gaseous disks have been directly observed, through emission from Ca II atoms in the disk (e.g. Manser et al., 2016; Wilson et al. 2014). Models successfully explain the accretion rates of metals onto the WD, provided the gaseous disk viscously spreads at rates consistent with a partially suppressed magnetorotational instability (Rafikov, 2011a, 2011b). However, these models currently do not explore the likely extent of the magnetorotational instability in disks by calculating the degree of ionization, or suppression by strong magnetic field.We present a 1-D model of a gaseous WD disk accretion, to assess the extent of the magnetorotational instability in WD disks. The composition of the disk, the ionization and recombination mechanisms, and the degree of ionization of the disk are explored. Magnetic field strengths consistent with WD dipolar magnetic fields are assumed. Elsasser numbers are calculated as a function of radius in the WD disk. The rate of viscous spreading is calculated, and the model of Rafikov (2011a, 2011b) updated to compute likely accretion rates of metals onto WDs.

  13. GW Librae: A unique laboratory for pulsations in an accreting white dwarf

    Toloza, O; Hermes, J J; Townsley, D M; Schreiber, M R; Szkody, P; Pala, A; Beuermann, K; Bildsten, L; Breedt, E; Cook, M; Godon, P; Henden, A A; Hubeny, I; Knigge, C; Long, K S; Marsh, T R; de Martino, D; Mukadam, A S; Myers, G; Nelson, P; Oksanen, A; Patterson, J; Sion, E M; Zorotovic, M

    2016-01-01

    Non-radial pulsations have been identified in a number of accreting white dwarfs in cataclysmic variables. These stars offer insight into the excitation of pulsation modes in atmospheres with mixed compositions of hydrogen, helium, and metals, and the response of these modes to changes in the white dwarf temperature. Among all pulsating cataclysmic variable white dwarfs, GW Librae stands out by having a well-established observational record of three independent pulsation modes that disappeared when the white dwarf temperature rose dramatically following its 2007 accretion outburst. Our analysis of HST ultraviolet spectroscopy taken in 2002, 2010 and 2011, showed that pulsations produce variations in the white dwarf effective temperature as predicted by theory. Additionally in May~2013, we obtained new HST/COS ultraviolet observations that displayed unexpected behaviour: besides showing variability at ~275s, which is close to the post-outburst pulsations detected with HST in 2010 and 2011, the white dwarf exhi...

  14. Evaporation and accretion of extrasolar comets following white dwarf kicks

    Stone, Nicholas; Metzger, Brian D.; Loeb, Abraham

    2015-03-01

    Several lines of observational evidence suggest that white dwarfs receive small birth kicks due to anisotropic mass-loss. If other stars possess extrasolar analogues to the Solar Oort cloud, the orbits of comets in such clouds will be scrambled by white dwarf natal kicks. Although most comets will be unbound, some will be placed on low angular momentum orbits vulnerable to sublimation or tidal disruption. The dusty debris from these comets will manifest itself as an IR excess temporarily visible around newborn white dwarfs; examples of such discs may already have been seen in the Helix Nebula, and around several other young white dwarfs. Future observations with the James Webb Space Telescope may distinguish this hypothesis from alternatives such as a dynamically excited Kuiper Belt analogue. Although competing hypotheses exist, the observation that ≳15 per cent of young white dwarfs possess such discs, if interpreted as indeed being cometary in origin, provides indirect evidence that low-mass gas giants (thought necessary to produce an Oort cloud) are common in the outer regions of extrasolar planetary systems. Hydrogen abundances in the atmospheres of older white dwarfs can, if sufficiently low, also be used to place constraints on the joint parameter space of natal kicks and exo-Oort cloud models.

  15. Effects of rotation on the helium burning shell source in accreting white dwarfs

    Yoon, S.-C.; Langer, N.; Scheithauer, S.

    2004-01-01

    We investigate the effects of rotation on the behavior of the helium burning shell source in accreting carbon-oxygen white dwarfs, in the context of the single degenerate Chandrasekhar mass progenitor scenario for Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia). We model the evolution of helium accreting white dwarfs of initially 1 Msun, assuming four different constant accretion rates (2, 3, 5 and 10 times10^{-7} Msun/yr). In a one-dimensional approximation, we compute the mass accretion and subsequent nuclear ...

  16. GW Librae: a unique laboratory for pulsations in an accreting white dwarf

    Toloza, O.; Gänsicke, B. T.; Hermes, J. J.; Townsley, D. M.; Schreiber, M. R.; Szkody, P.; Pala, A.; Beuermann, K.; Bildsten, L.; Breedt, E.; Cook, M.; Godon, P.; Henden, A. A.; Hubeny, I.; Knigge, C.; Long, K. S.; Marsh, T. R.; de Martino, D.; Mukadam, A. S.; Myers, G.; Nelson, P.; Oksanen, A.; Patterson, J.; Sion, E. M.; Zorotovic, M.

    2016-07-01

    Non-radial pulsations have been identified in a number of accreting white dwarfs in cataclysmic variables. These stars offer insight into the excitation of pulsation modes in atmospheres with mixed compositions of hydrogen, helium, and metals, and the response of these modes to changes in the white dwarf temperature. Among all pulsating cataclysmic variable white dwarfs, GW Librae stands out by having a well-established observational record of three independent pulsation modes that disappeared when the white dwarf temperature rose dramatically following its 2007 accretion outburst. Our analysis of Hubble Space Telescope (HST) ultraviolet spectroscopy taken in 2002, 2010, and 2011, showed that pulsations produce variations in the white dwarf effective temperature as predicted by theory. Additionally in 2013 May, we obtained new HST/Cosmic Origin Spectrograph ultraviolet observations that displayed unexpected behaviour: besides showing variability at ≃275 s, which is close to the post-outburst pulsations detected with HST in 2010 and 2011, the white dwarf exhibits high-amplitude variability on an ≃4.4 h time-scale. We demonstrate that this variability is produced by an increase of the temperature of a region on white dwarf covering up to ≃30 per cent of the visible white dwarf surface. We argue against a short-lived accretion episode as the explanation of such heating, and discuss this event in the context of non-radial pulsations on a rapidly rotating star.

  17. Stochastic accretion of planetesimals onto white dwarfs: constraints on the mass distribution of accreted material from atmospheric pollution

    Wyatt, M C; Pringle, J E; Bonsor, A

    2014-01-01

    This paper explores how the stochastic accretion of planetesimals onto white dwarfs would be manifested in observations of their atmospheric pollution. Archival observations of pollution levels for unbiased samples of DA and non-DA white dwarfs are used to derive the distribution of accretion rates, confirming that rates become systematically lower as sinking time is decreased, with no discernable dependence on cooling age. The accretion rates expected from planetesimals that are all the same mass (ie, a mono-mass distribution) are explored both analytically and using a Monte Carlo model, quantifying how measured accretion rates inevitably depend on sinking time, since different sinking times probe different times since the last accretion event. However, that dependence is so dramatic that a mono-mass distribution can be excluded. Consideration of accretion from a broad distribution of planetesimal masses uncovers an important conceptual difference: accretion is continuous (rather than stochastic) for planete...

  18. Evaporation and Accretion of Extrasolar Comets Following White Dwarf Kicks

    Stone, Nicholas; Loeb, Abraham

    2014-01-01

    Several lines of observational evidence suggest that white dwarfs receive small birth kicks due to anisotropic mass loss. If other stars possess extrasolar analogues to the Solar Oort cloud, the orbits of comets in such clouds will be scrambled by white dwarf natal kicks. Although most comets will be unbound, some will be placed on low angular momentum orbits vulnerable to sublimation or tidal disruption. The dusty debris from these comets will manifest itself as a debris disk temporarily visible around newborn white dwarfs; examples of such disks may already have been seen in the Helix Nebula, and around several other young WDs. Future observations with the James Webb Space Telescope will distinguish this hypothesis from alternatives such as a dynamically excited Kuiper Belt analogue. If interpreted as indeed being cometary in origin, the observation that >15% of young WDs possess such disks provides indirect evidence that low mass gas giants (thought necessary to produce an Oort cloud) are common in the out...

  19. An Update on the Quirks of Pulsating, Accreting White Dwarfs

    Szkody, Paula; Mukadam, Anjum S.; Gänsicke, Boris T.; Hermes, J. J.; Toloza, Odette

    2015-06-01

    At the 18th European White Dwarf Workshop, we reported results for several dwarf novae containing pulsating white dwarfs that had undergone an outburst in 2006-2007. HST and optical data on the white dwarfs in GW Lib, EQ Lyn and V455 And all showed different behaviors in the years following their outbursts. We continued to follow these objects for the last 2 years, providing timescales of 6-7 years past outburst. All three reached their optical quiescent values within 4 years but pulsational stability has not returned. EQ Lyn showed its pre-outburst pulsation period after 3 years, but it continues to show photometric variability that alternates between pulsation and disk superhump periods while remaining at quiescence. V455 And has almost reached its pre-outburst pulsation period, while GW Lib still remains heated and with a different pulsation spectrum than at quiescence. These results indicate that asteroseismology provides a unique picture of the effects of outburst heating on the white dwarf.

  20. Quasi-periodic oscillations in accreting magnetic white dwarfs II. The asset of numerical modelling for interpreting observations

    Busschaert, C; Michaut, C; Bonnet-Bidaud, J -M; Mouchet, M

    2015-01-01

    Magnetic cataclysmic variables are close binary systems containing a strongly magnetized white dwarf that accretes matter coming from an M-dwarf companion. High-energy radiation coming from those objects is emitted from the accretion column close to the white dwarf photosphere at the impact region. Its properties depend on the characteristics of the white dwarf and an accurate accretion column model allows the properties of the binary system to be inferred, such as the white dwarf mass, its magnetic field, and the accretion rate. We study the temporal and spectral behaviour of the accretion region and use the tools we developed to accurately connect the simulation results to the X-ray and optical astronomical observations. The radiation hydrodynamics code Hades was adapted to simulate this specific accretion phenomena. Classical approaches were used to model the radiative losses of the two main radiative processes: bremsstrahlung and cyclotron. The oscillation frequencies and amplitudes in the X-ray and optic...

  1. An irradiated brown-dwarf companion to an accreting white dwarf

    Hernández Santisteban, Juan V.; Knigge, Christian; Littlefair, Stuart P.; Breton, Rene P.; Dhillon, Vikram S.; Gänsicke, Boris T.; Marsh, Thomas R.; Pretorius, Magaretha L.; Southworth, John; Hauschildt, Peter H.

    2016-05-01

    Interacting compact binary systems provide a natural laboratory in which to study irradiated substellar objects. As the mass-losing secondary (donor) in these systems makes a transition from the stellar to the substellar regime, it is also irradiated by the primary (compact accretor). The internal and external energy fluxes are both expected to be comparable in these objects, providing access to an unexplored irradiation regime. The atmospheric properties of donors are largely unknown, but could be modified by the irradiation. To constrain models of donor atmospheres, it is necessary to obtain accurate observational estimates of their physical properties (masses, radii, temperatures and albedos). Here we report the spectroscopic detection and characterization of an irradiated substellar donor in an accreting white-dwarf binary system. Our near-infrared observations allow us to determine a model-independent mass estimate for the donor of 0.055 ± 0.008 solar masses and an average spectral type of L1 ± 1, supporting both theoretical predictions and model-dependent observational constraints that suggest that the donor is a brown dwarf. Our time-resolved data also allow us to estimate the average irradiation-induced temperature difference between the dayside and nightside of the substellar donor (57 kelvin) and the maximum difference between the hottest and coolest parts of its surface (200 kelvin). The observations are well described by a simple geometric reprocessing model with a bolometric (Bond) albedo of less than 0.54 at the 2σ confidence level, consistent with high reprocessing efficiency, but poor lateral heat redistribution in the atmosphere of the brown-dwarf donor. These results add to our knowledge of binary evolution, in that the donor has survived the transition from the stellar to the substellar regime, and of substellar atmospheres, in that we have been able to test a regime in which the irradiation and the internal energy of a brown dwarf are

  2. Helium accreting CO white dwarfs with rotation: helium novae instead of double detonation

    Yoon, S.-C.; Langer, N.

    2004-01-01

    We present evolutionary models of helium accreting carbon-oxygen white dwarfs in which we include the effects of the spin-up of the accreting star induced by angular momentum accretion, rotationally induced chemical mixing and rotational energy dissipation. Initial masses of 0.6 Msun and 0.8 Msun and constant accretion rates of a few times 10^{-8} Msun/yr of helium rich matter have been considered, which is typical for the sub-Chandrasekhar mass progenitor scenario for Type Ia supernovae. It ...

  3. Accretion of a Terrestrial-Like Minor Planet by a White Dwarf

    Melis, Carl; Dufour, P; Zuckerman, B; Burgasser, Adam J; Bergeron, P; Bochanski, J; Simcoe, R

    2011-01-01

    We present optical and infrared characterization of the polluted DAZ white dwarf GALEX J193156.8+011745. Imaging and spectroscopy from the ultraviolet to the thermal infrared indicates that the white dwarf hosts excess infrared emission consistent with the presence of an orbiting dusty debris disk. In addition to the five elements previously identified, our optical echelle spectroscopy reveals chromium and manganese and enables restrictive upper limits on several other elements. Synthesis of all detections and upper limits suggests that the white dwarf has accreted a differentiated parent body. We compare the inferred bulk elemental composition of the accreted parent body to expectations for the bulk composition of an Earth-like planet stripped of its crust and mantle and find relatively good agreement. At least two processes could be important in shaping the final bulk elemental composition of rocky bodies during the late phases of stellar evolution: irradiation and interaction with the dense stellar wind.

  4. Evolution of accreting white dwarfs; some of them continue to grow

    Newsham, G; Timmes, F

    2013-01-01

    Novae are cataclysmic variable binary systems in which a white dwarf primary is accreting material from a low mass companion. The importance of this accretion takes on added significance if the WD can increase its mass to reach the Chandrasekhar limit thus exploding as a Type Ia supernova. In this study we accrete material of Solar composition onto carbon-oxygen white dwarfs of 0.70, 1.00 and 1.35 Msun with accretion rates from 1.6e-10 to 1.6e-6 Msun per yr. We have utilized the MESA stellar evolution code for our modeling and evolve them for many nova cycles or, in some cases, evolution to a red giant stage. Differing behaviors occur as a function of both the WD mass and the accretion rate. For the lower WD masses, the models undergo recurrent hydrogen flashes at low accretion rates; for higher accretion rates, steady-burning of hydrogen occurs and eventually gives way to recurrent hydrogen flashes. At the highest accretion rates, these models go through a steady-burning phase but eventually transition into ...

  5. Scars of Intense Accretion Episodes at Metal-Rich White Dwarfs

    Farihi, J; Wyatt, M A; Girven, J; Pringle, J E; King, A R

    2012-01-01

    A re-evaluation of time-averaged accretion rates at DBZ-type white dwarfs points to historical, time-averaged rates significantly higher than the currently observed episodes at their DAZ counterparts. The difference between the ongoing, instantaneous accretion rates witnessed at DAZ white dwarfs, which often exceed 1e8 g/s, and those inferred over the past 1e5-1e6 yr for the DBZ stars can be a few orders of magnitude, and therefore must result from high-rate episodes of tens to hundreds of years so they remain undetected to date. This paper explores the likelihood that such brief, intense accretion episodes of gas-phase material can account for existing data. For reasonable assumptions about the circumstellar gas, accretion rates approaching or exceeding 1e15 g/s are possible, similar to rates observed in quiescent cataclysmic variables, and potentially detectable with future x-ray missions or wide-field monitoring facilities. Gaseous debris that is prone to such rapid accretion may be abundant immediately fo...

  6. Flickering of accreting white dwarfs: the remarkable amplitude-flux relation and disc viscosity

    Zamanov, R. K.; Boeva, S.; Latev, G.; Sokoloski, J. L.; Stoyanov, K. A.; Genkov, V.; Tsvetkova, S. V.; Tomov, T.; Antov, A.; Bode, M. F.

    2016-03-01

    We analyse optical photometric data of short term variability (flickering) of accreting white dwarfs in cataclysmic variables (KR Aur, MV Lyr, V794 Aql, TT Ari, V425 Cas), recurrent novae (RS Oph and T CrB) and jet-ejecting symbiotic stars (CH Cyg and MWC 560). We find that the amplitude-flux relationship is visible over four orders of magnitude, in the range of fluxes from 1029 to 1033 erg s-1 Å-1, as a `statistically perfect correlation with correlation coefficient 0.96 and p-value ˜10-28. In the above range, the amplitude of variability for any of our 9 objects is proportional to the flux level with (almost) one and the same factor of proportionality for all nine accreting white dwarfs with ΔF = 0.36(±0.05)Fav, σrms = 0.086(±0.011)Fav, and σrms/ΔF = 0.24 ± 0.02. Overall, our results indicate that the viscosity in the accretion discs is practically the same for all nine objects in our sample, in the mass accretion rate range 2 × 10-11 - 2 × 10-7 M⊙ yr-1.

  7. Flickering of accreting white dwarfs: the remarkable amplitude - flux relation and disc viscocity

    Zamanov, R K; Latev, G; Sokoloski, J L; Stoyanov, K A; Genkov, V; Tsvetkova, S V; Tomov, T; Antov, A; Bode, M F

    2015-01-01

    We analyze optical photometric data of short term variability (flickering) of accreting white dwarfs in cataclysmic variables (KR Aur, MV Lyr, V794 Aql, TT Ari, V425 Cas), recurrent novae (RS Oph and T CrB) and jet-ejecting symbiotic stars (CH Cyg and MWC 560). We find that the amplitude-flux relationship is visible over four orders of magnitude, in the range of fluxes from $10^{29}$ to $10^{33}$ erg s$^{-1}$ \\AA$^{-1}$, as a "statistically perfect" correlation with correlation coefficient 0.96 and p-value $ \\sim 10^{-28}$. In the above range, the amplitude of variability for any of our 9 objects is proportional to the flux level with (almost) one and the same factor of proportionality for all 9 accreting white dwarfs with $\\Delta F = 0.36 (\\pm 0.05) F_{av}$, $\\sigma_{rms} = 0.086(\\pm 0.011) F_{av}$, and $\\sigma_{rms} / \\Delta F = 0.24 \\pm 0.02$. Over all, our results indicate that the viscosity in the accretion discs is practically the same for all 9 objects in our sample, in the mass accretion rate range $2...

  8. Effects of a new triple-$\\alpha$ reaction rate on the helium ignition of accreting white dwarfs

    Saruwatari, Motoaki; Hashimoto, Masa-aki

    2010-01-01

    Effects of a new triple-alpha reaction rate on the ignition of carbon-oxygen white dwarfs accreting helium in a binary systems have been investigated. The ignition points determine the properties of a thermonuclear explosion of a Type Ia supernova. We examine the cases of different accretion rates of helium and different initial masses of the white dwarf, which was studied in detail by Nomoto. We find that for all cases from slow to intermediate accretion rates, nuclear burnings are ignited a...

  9. Eclipse mapping of the accreting magnetic white dwarf in DP Leonis with HST

    Stockman, H. S.; Schmidt, Gary D.; Liebert, James; Holberg, J. B.

    1994-01-01

    We present time-resolved ultraviolet spectrophotometry of the AM Her system DP Leo (E1114+182), obtained with the Faint Object Spectrograph on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) in 1991 October. During this period, the binary was in a low-activity state. Complementary optical spectrophotometry and spectopolarimetry were obtained in 1991 October and December, as well as in 1992 April when the object had entered a high-accretion state. The HST spectrophotometry reveals two UV-emitting components-a hot 'spot' (T approximately 50,000 K, very approximately) near the magnetic pole into which most material is accreted, and the white dwarf photosphere (T approximately 16,000 K), which dominates when the spot is not in view. Both components appear as rapid and gradual components in the ingress and egress of secondary eclipse, the latter indicating a normal white dwarf radius of 0.8 x 10(exp 9) cm. The fractional area of the spot (f approximately 0.006) implied by the eclipse data is consistent with the observed UV flux and a minimum distance of 380 pc is similar to those found in other AM Her systems. The nearly identical eclipse light curves from the HST and earlier optical observations imply that the UV-emitting reprocessing area is not more extended than the cyclotron source of optical radiation in the accretion funnel. The timing of the onset of the bright phase indicated that the spot leads the secondary in orbital azimuth by approximately 3 deg.

  10. Accretion-induced variability links young stellar objects, white dwarfs, and black holes

    Scaringi, S; Koerding, E; Knigge, C; Vaughan, S; Marsh, T R; Aranzana, E; Dhillon, V; Barros, S C C

    2015-01-01

    The central engines of disc-accreting stellar-mass black holes appear to be scaled down versions of the supermassive black holes that power active galactic nuclei. However, if the physics of accretion is universal, it should also be possible to extend this scaling to other types of accreting systems, irrespective of accretor mass, size, or type. We examine new observations, obtained with Kepler/K2 and ULTRACAM, regarding accreting white dwarfs and young stellar objects. Every object in the sample displays the same linear correlation between the brightness of the source and its amplitude of variability (rms-flux relation) and obeys the same quantitative scaling relation as stellar-mass black holes and active galactic nuclei. We also show that the most important parameter in this scaling relation is the physical size of the accreting object. This establishes the universality of accretion physics from proto-stars still in the star-forming process to the supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies.

  11. Accretion-induced variability links young stellar objects, white dwarfs, and black holes.

    Scaringi, Simone; Maccarone, Thomas J; Körding, Elmar; Knigge, Christian; Vaughan, Simon; Marsh, Thomas R; Aranzana, Ester; Dhillon, Vikram S; Barros, Susana C C

    2015-10-01

    The central engines of disc-accreting stellar-mass black holes appear to be scaled down versions of the supermassive black holes that power active galactic nuclei. However, if the physics of accretion is universal, it should also be possible to extend this scaling to other types of accreting systems, irrespective of accretor mass, size, or type. We examine new observations, obtained with Kepler/K2 and ULTRACAM, regarding accreting white dwarfs and young stellar objects. Every object in the sample displays the same linear correlation between the brightness of the source and its amplitude of variability (rms-flux relation) and obeys the same quantitative scaling relation as stellar-mass black holes and active galactic nuclei. We also show that the most important parameter in this scaling relation is the physical size of the accreting object. This establishes the universality of accretion physics from proto-stars still in the star-forming process to the supermassive black holes at the centers of galaxies. PMID:26601307

  12. The White Dwarf Mass and the Accretion Rate of Recurrent Novae: An X-ray Perspective

    Mukai, Koji; Sokoloski, Jennifer L.; Nelson, Thomas; Luna, Gerardo J. M.

    2011-01-01

    We present recent results of quiescent X-ray observations of recurrent novae (RNe) and related objects. Several RNe are luminous hard X-ray sources in quiescence, consistent with accretion onto a near Chandrasekhar mass white dwarf. Detection of similar hard X-ray emissions in old novae and other cataclysmic variables may lead to identification of additional RN candidates. On the other hand, other RNe are found to be comparatively hard X-ray faint. We present several scenarios that may explain this dichotomy, which should be explored further.

  13. Metal Accretion onto White Dwarfs. I. The Approximate Approach Based on Estimates of Diffusion Timescales

    Fontaine, G.; Brassard, P.; Dufour, P.; Tremblay, P.-E.

    2015-06-01

    The accretion-diffusion picture is the model par excellence for describing the presence of planetary debris polluting the atmospheres of relatively cool white dwarfs. Some important insights into the process may be derived using an approximate approach which combines static stellar models with estimates of diffusion timescales at the base of the outer convection zone or, in its absence, at the photosphere. Until recently, and to our knowledge, values of diffusion timescales in white dwarfs have all been obtained on the basis of the same physics as that developed initially by Paquette et al., including their diffusion coefficients and thermal diffusion coefficients. In view of the recent exciting discoveries of a plethora of metals (including some never seen before) polluting the atmospheres of an increasing number of cool white dwarfs, we felt that a new look at the estimates of settling timescales would be worthwhile. We thus provide improved estimates of diffusion timescales for all 27 elements from Li to Cu in the periodic table in a wide range of the surface gravity-effective temperature domain and for both DA and non-DA stars.

  14. What Can the Accretion Induced Collapse of White Dwarfs Really Explain?

    Fryer, C L; Herant, M; Colgate, S A

    1999-01-01

    The accretion induced collapse (AIC) of a white dwarf into a neutron star has been invoked to explain gamma-ray bursts, Type Ia supernovae, and a number of problematic neutron star populations and specific binary systems. The ejecta from this collapse has also been claimed as a source of r-process nucleosynthesis. So far, most AIC studies have focussed on determining the event rates from binary evolution models and less attention has been directed toward understanding the collapse itself. However, the collapse of a white dwarf into a neutron star is followed by the ejection of rare neutron-rich isotopes. The observed abundance of these chemical elements may set a more reliable limit on the rate at which AICs have taken place over the history of the galaxy. In this paper, we present a thorough study of the collapse of a massive white dwarf in 1- and 2-dimensions and determine the amount and composition of the ejected material. We discuss the importance of the input physics (equation of state, neutrino transpor...

  15. Axisymmetric general relativistic simulations of the accretion-induced collapse of white dwarfs

    Abdikamalov, E. B.; Ott, C. D.; Rezzolla, L.; Dessart, L.; Dimmelmeier, H.; Marek, A.; Janka, H.-T.

    2010-02-01

    The accretion-induced collapse (AIC) of a white dwarf may lead to the formation of a protoneutron star and a collapse-driven supernova explosion. This process represents a path alternative to thermonuclear disruption of accreting white dwarfs in type Ia supernovae. In the AIC scenario, the supernova explosion energy is expected to be small and the resulting transient short-lived, making it hard to detect by electromagnetic means alone. Neutrino and gravitational-wave (GW) observations may provide crucial information necessary to reveal a potential AIC. Motivated by the need for systematic predictions of the GW signature of AIC, we present results from an extensive set of general-relativistic AIC simulations using a microphysical finite-temperature equation of state and an approximate treatment of deleptonization during collapse. Investigating a set of 114 progenitor models in axisymmetric rotational equilibrium, with a wide range of rotational configurations, temperatures and central densities, and resulting white dwarf masses, we extend previous Newtonian studies and find that the GW signal has a generic shape akin to what is known as a “type III” signal in the literature. Despite this reduction to a single type of waveform, we show that the emitted GWs carry information that can be used to constrain the progenitor and the postbounce rotation. We discuss the detectability of the emitted GWs, showing that the signal-to-noise ratio for current or next-generation interferometer detectors could be high enough to detect such events in our Galaxy. Furthermore, we contrast the GW signals of AIC and rotating massive star iron core collapse and find that they can be distinguished, but only if the distance to the source is known and a detailed reconstruction of the GW time series from detector data is possible. Some of our AIC models form massive quasi-Keplerian accretion disks after bounce. The disk mass is very sensitive to progenitor mass and angular momentum

  16. Angular momentum exchange in white dwarf binaries accreting through direct impact

    We examine the exchange of angular momentum between the component spins and the orbit in semi-detached double white dwarf binaries undergoing mass transfer through direct impact of the transfer stream. We approximate the stream as a series of discrete massive particles ejected in the ballistic limit at the inner Lagrangian point of the donor toward the accretor. This work improves upon similar earlier studies in a number of ways. First, we self-consistently calculate the total angular momentum of the orbit at all times. This includes changes in the orbital angular momentum during the ballistic trajectory of the ejected mass, as well as changes during the ejection/accretion due to the radial component of the particle's velocity. Second, we calculate the particle's ballistic trajectory for each system, which allows us to determine the precise position and velocity of the particle upon accretion. We can then include specific information about the radius of the accretor as well as the angle of impact. Finally, we ensure that the total angular momentum is conserved, which requires the donor star spin to vary self-consistently. With these improvements, we calculate the angular momentum change of the orbit and each binary component across the entire parameter space of direct impact double white dwarf binary systems. We find a significant decrease in the amount of angular momentum removed from the orbit during mass transfer, as well as cases where this process increases the angular momentum of the orbit at the expense of the spin angular momentum of the donor. We conclude that, unlike earlier claims in the literature, mass transfer through direct impact need not destabilize the binary and that the quantity and sign of the orbital angular momentum transfer depends on the binary properties, particularly the masses of the double white dwarf binary component stars. This stabilization may significantly impact the population synthesis calculations of the expected

  17. Population synthesis of accreting white dwarfs: II. X-ray and UV emission

    Chen, Hai-Liang; Yungelson, L R; Gilfanov, M; Han, Zhanwen

    2015-01-01

    Accreting white dwarfs (WDs) with non-degenerate companions are expected to emit in soft X-rays and the UV, if accreted H-rich material burns stably. They are an important component of the unresolved emission of elliptical galaxies, and their combined ionizing luminosity may significantly influence the optical line emission from warm ISM. In an earlier paper we modeled populations of accreting WDs, first generating WD with main-sequence, Hertzsprung gap and red giant companions with the population synthesis code \\textsc{BSE}, and then following their evolution with a grid of evolutionary tracks computed with \\textsc{MESA}. Now we use these results to estimate the soft X-ray (0.3-0.7keV), H- and He II-ionizing luminosities of nuclear burning WDs and the number of super-soft X-ray sources for galaxies with different star formation histories. For the starburst case, these quantities peak at $\\sim 1$ Gyr and decline by $\\sim 1-3$ orders of magnitude by the age of 10 Gyr. For stellar ages of $\\sim$~10 Gyr, predict...

  18. Accretion and diffusion in the DAZ white dwarf GALEX J1931+0117

    Vennes, Stephane; Nemeth, Peter

    2010-01-01

    We present an analysis of high-dispersion and high signal-to-noise ratio spectra of the DAZ white dwarf GALEX J1931+0117. The spectra obtained with the VLT-Kueyen/UV-Visual Echelle Spectrograph show several well-resolved Si II spectral lines enabling a study of pressure effects on line profiles. We observed large Stark shifts in silicon lines in agreement with laboratory measurements. A model atmosphere analysis shows that the magnesium, silicon and iron abundances exceed solar abundances, while the oxygen and calcium abundances are below solar. Also, we compared the observed line profiles to synthetic spectra computed with variable accretion rates and vertical abundance distributions assuming diffusion steady-state. The inferred accretion rates vary from dM/dt=2x10^6 for calcium to 2x10^9 g/s for oxygen and indicate that the accretion flow is dominated by oxygen, silicon and iron while being deficient in carbon, magnesium and calcium. The lack of radial velocity variations between two measurement epochs sugg...

  19. Magnetically-driven explosions of rapidly-rotating white dwarfs following Accretion-Induced Collapse

    Dessart, Luc; Livne, Eli; Ott, Christian

    2007-01-01

    We present 2D multi-group flux-limited diffusion magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) simulations of the Accretion-Induced Collapse (AIC) of a rapidly-rotating white dwarf. We focus on the dynamical role of MHD processes after the formation of a millisecond-period protoneutron star. We find that including magnetic fields and stresses can lead to a powerful explosion with an energy of a few Bethe, rather than a weak one of at most 0.1 Bethe, with an associated ejecta mass of ~0.1Msun, instead of a few 0.001Msun. The core is spun down by ~30% within 500ms after bounce, and the rotational energy extracted from the core is channeled into magnetic energy that generates a strong magnetically-driven wind, rather than a weak neutrino-driven wind. Baryon loading of the ejecta, while this wind prevails, precludes it from becoming relativistic. This suggests that a GRB is not expected to emerge from such AICs during the early protoneutron star phase, except in the unlikely event that the massive white dwarf has sufficient mass to...

  20. The post-outburst pulsations of the accreting white dwarf in the cataclysmic variable GW Librae

    Chote, P

    2016-01-01

    We present new time-series photometry of the accreting pulsating white dwarf system GW Librae obtained in 2012 and 2013 at the University of Canterbury Mt John Observatory in New Zealand. Our 2012 data show the return of a $\\sim$19 minute periodicity that was previously detected in 2008. This pulsation mode was a dominant feature of our quality May 2012 data set, which consisted of six contiguous nights; a detailed analysis indicated a degree of frequency variability. We show by comparison with the previously identified pulsation modes that this periodicity is best explained as a new mode, and that the quasi-stability of the periods appears to be a general feature of the pulsations in these systems. We also find a previously unreported 3-hour modulation period, which we believe to be related to the known two and four hour periods of so far unknown origin.

  1. The Stability of Double White Dwarf Binaries Undergoing Direct Impact Accretion

    Motl, P M; Tohline, J E; De Souza, M C R; Motl, Patrick M.; Frank, Juhan; Tohline, Joel E.; Souza, Mario C. R. D'

    2007-01-01

    We present numerical simulations of dynamically unstable mass transfer in a double white dwarf binary with initial mass ratio, q = 0.4. The binary components are approximated as polytropes of index n = 3/2 and the initially synchronously rotating, semi-detached equilibrium binary is evolved hydrodynamically with the gravitational potential being computed through the solution of Poisson's equation. Upon initiating deep contact, in our baseline simulation the mass transfer rate grows by more than an order of magnitude over approximately ten orbits, as would be expected for dynamically unstable mass transfer. However, the mass transfer rate then reaches a peak value, the binary expands and the mass transfer event subsides. The binary must therefore have crossed the critical mass ratio for stability against dynamical mass transfer. Despite the initial loss of orbital angular momentum into the spin of the accreting star, we find that the accretor's spin saturates and angular momentum is returned to the orbit more ...

  2. Relation between the X-ray and Optical Luminosities in Binary Systems with Accreting Nonmagnetic White Dwarfs

    Revnivtsev, M G; Suleimanov, V F

    2014-01-01

    We investigate the relation between the optical (g-band) and X-ray (0.5-10 keV) luminosities of accreting nonmagnetic white dwarfs. According to the present-day counts of the populations of star systems in our Galaxy, these systems have the highest space density among the close binary systems with white dwarfs. We show that the dependence of the optical luminosity of accreting white dwarfs on their X-ray luminosity forms a fairly narrow one-parameter curve. The typical half-width of this curve does not exceed 0.2-0.3 dex in optical and X-ray luminosities, which is essentially consistent with the amplitude of the aperiodic flux variability for these objects. At X-ray luminosities Lx~1e32 erg/sec or lower, the optical g-band luminosity of the accretion flow is shown to be related to its X-ray luminosity by a factor ~2-3. At even lower X-ray luminosities (Lx~1e30 erg/sec), the contribution from the photosphere of the white dwarf begins to dominate in the optical spectrum of the binary system and its optical brig...

  3. Runaway accretion of metals from compact debris disks onto white dwarfs

    Rafikov, Roman R

    2011-01-01

    It was recently proposed that metal-rich white dwarfs (WDs) accrete their metals from compact debris disks found to exist around more than a dozen of them. At the same time, elemental abundances measured in atmospheres of some WDs imply vigorous metal accretion at rates up to $10^{11}$ g/s, far in excess of what can be supplied solely by Poynting-Robertson drag acting on such debris disks. To explain this observation we propose a model, in which rapid transport of metals from the disk onto the WD naturally results from interaction between this particulate disk and spatially coexisting disk of metallic gas. The latter is fed by evaporation of debris particles at the sublimation radius located at several tens of WD radii. Because of pressure support gaseous disk orbits WD slower than particulate disk. Resultant azimuthal drift between them at speed ~1 m/s causes aerodynamic drag on the disk of solids and drives inward migration of its constituent particles. Upon reaching the sublimation radius particles evapora...

  4. Carbon Shell or Core Ignitions in White Dwarfs Accreting from Helium Stars

    Brooks, Jared; Schwab, Josiah; Paxton, Bill

    2016-01-01

    White dwarfs accreting from helium stars can stably burn at the accreted rate and avoid the challenge of mass loss associated with unstable Helium burning that is a concern for many Type Ia supernovae scenarios. We study binaries with helium stars of mass $1.25 M_\\odot\\le M_{\\rm{He}} \\le 1.8 M_\\odot$, which have lost their hydrogen rich envelopes in an earlier common envelope event and now orbit with periods ($P_{\\rm orb}$) of several hours with non-rotating $0.84$ and $1.0 M_\\odot$ C/O WDs. The helium stars fill their Roche lobes (RLs) after exhaustion of central helium and donate helium on their thermal timescales (${\\sim}10^5$yr). As shown by others, these mass transfer rates coincide with the steady helium burning range for WDs, and grow the WD core up to near the Chandrasekhar mass ($M_{\\rm Ch}$) and a core carbon ignition. We show here, however, that many of these scenarios lead to an ignition of hot carbon ashes near the outer edge of the WD and an inward going carbon flame that does not cause an explo...

  5. The Stability of Double White Dwarf Binaries Undergoing Direct-Impact Accretion

    Motl, Patrick M.; Frank, Juhan; Tohline, Joel E.; D'Souza, Mario C. R.

    2007-12-01

    We present numerical simulations of dynamically unstable mass transfer in a double white dwarf binary with initial mass ratio q=0.4. The binary components are approximated as polytropes of index n=3/2, and the initially synchronously rotating, semidetached equilibrium binary is evolved hydrodynamically, with the gravitational potential being computed through the solution of Poisson's equation. Upon initiating deep contact in our baseline simulation, the mass transfer rate grows by more than an order of magnitude over approximately 10 orbits, as would be expected for dynamically unstable mass transfer. However, the mass transfer rate then reaches a peak value, the binary expands, and the mass transfer event subsides. The binary must therefore have crossed the critical mass ratio for stability against dynamical mass transfer. Despite the initial loss of orbital angular momentum into the spin of the accreting star, we find that the accretor's spin saturates and that angular momentum is returned to the orbit more efficiently than has been previously suspected for binaries in the direct-impact accretion mode. To explore this surprising result, we directly measure the critical mass ratio for stability by imposing artificial angular momentum loss at various rates to drive the binary to an equilibrium mass transfer rate. For one of these driven evolutions, we attain equilibrium mass transfer and deduce that, effectively, qcrit has evolved to approximately 2/3. Despite the absence of a fully developed disk, tidal interactions appear to be effective in returning excess spin angular momentum to the orbit.

  6. The Accretion of Solar Material onto White Dwarfs: No Mixing with Core Material Implies that the Mass of the White Dwarf is Increasing

    Starrfield, Sumner

    2015-01-01

    Cataclysmic Variables (CVs) are close binary star systems with one component an accreting white dwarf (WD) and the other a larger cooler star that fills its Roche Lobe. One consequence of the WDs accreting material, is the possibility that they are growing in mass and will eventually reach the Chandrasekhar Limit. This evolution could result in a Supernova Ia (SN Ia) explosion and is designated the Single Degenerate Progenitor (SD) scenario. One problem with the single degenerate scenario is that it is generally assumed that the accreting material mixes with WD core material at some time during the accretion phase of evolution and, since the typical WD has a carbon-oxygen (CO) core, the mixing results in large amounts of carbon and oxygen being brought up into the accreted layers. The presence of enriched carbon causes enhanced nuclear fusion and a Classical Nova (CN)explosion. Thus, the WD in a Classical Nova system is decreasing in mass and cannot be a SN Ia progenitor. In new calculations reported here, th...

  7. Population synthesis of accreting white dwarfs - II. X-ray and UV emission

    Chen, Hai-Liang; Woods, T. E.; Yungelson, L. R.; Gilfanov, M.; Han, Zhanwen

    2015-11-01

    Accreting white dwarfs (WDs) with non-degenerate companions are expected to emit in soft X-rays and the UV, if accreted H-rich material burns stably. They are an important component of the unresolved emission of elliptical galaxies, and their combined ionizing luminosity may significantly influence the optical line emission from warm interstellar medium (ISM). In an earlier paper, we modelled populations of accreting WDs, first generating WD with main-sequence, Hertzsprung gap and red giant companions with the population synthesis code BSE, and then following their evolution with a grid of evolutionary tracks computed with MESA. Now we use these results to estimate the soft X-ray (0.3-0.7 keV), H- and He II-ionizing luminosities of nuclear burning WDs and the number of supersoft X-ray sources for galaxies with different star formation histories. For the starburst case, these quantities peak at ˜1 Gyr and decline by ˜1-3 orders of magnitude by the age of 10 Gyr. For stellar ages of ˜10 Gyr, predictions of our model are consistent with soft X-ray luminosities observed by Chandra in nearby elliptical galaxies and He II 4686 Å/H β line ratio measured in stacked Sloan Digital Sky Survey spectra of retired galaxies, the latter characterizing the strength and hardness of the UV radiation field. However, the soft X-ray luminosity and He II 4686 Å/H β ratio are significantly overpredicted for stellar ages of ≲4-8 Gyr. We discuss various possibilities to resolve this discrepancy and tentatively conclude that it may be resolved by a modification of the typically used criteria of dynamically unstable mass-loss for giant stars.

  8. Formation of millisecond pulsars with CO white dwarf companions - II. Accretion, spin-up, true ages and comparison to MSPs with He white dwarf companions

    Tauris, Thomas M; Kramer, Michael

    2012-01-01

    Millisecond pulsars (MSPs) are mainly characterised by their spin periods, B-fields and masses - quantities which are largely affected by previous interactions with a companion star in a binary system. In this paper, we investigate the formation mechanism of MSPs by considering the pulsar recycling process in both intermediate-mass X-ray binaries (IMXBs) and low-mass X-ray binaries (LMXBs). The IMXBs mainly lead to the formation of binary MSPs with a massive carbon-oxygen (CO) or an oxygen-neon-magnesium white dwarf (ONeMg WD) companion, whereas the LMXBs form recycled pulsars with a helium white dwarf (He WD) companion. We discuss the accretion physics leading to the spin-up line in the PPdot-diagram and demonstrate that such a line cannot be uniquely defined. We derive a simple expression for the amount of accreted mass needed for any given pulsar to achieve its equilibrium spin and apply this to explain the observed differences of the spin distributions of recycled pulsars with different types of companion...

  9. The accretion of solar material onto white dwarfs: No mixing with core material implies that the mass of the white dwarf is increasing

    Sumner Starrfield

    2014-02-01

    Full Text Available Cataclysmic Variables (CVs are close binary star systems with one component a white dwarf (WD and the other a larger cooler star that fills its Roche Lobe. The cooler star is losing mass through the inner Lagrangian point of the binary and some unknown fraction of this material is accreted by the WD. One consequence of the WDs accreting material, is the possibility that they are growing in mass and will eventually reach the Chandrasekhar Limit. This evolution could result in a Supernova Ia (SN Ia explosion and is designated the Single Degenerate Progenitor (SD scenario. This paper is concerned with the SD scenario for SN Ia progenitors. One problem with the single degenerate scenario is that it is generally assumed that the accreting material mixes with WD core material at some time during the accretion phase of evolution and, since the typical WD has a carbon-oxygen CO core, the mixing results in large amounts of carbon and oxygen being brought up into the accreted layers. The presence of enriched carbon causes enhanced nuclear fusion and a Classical Nova explosion. Both observations and theoretical studies of these explosions imply that more mass is ejected than is accreted. Thus, the WD in a Classical Nova system is losing mass and cannot be a SN Ia progenitor. However, the composition in the nuclear burning region is important and, in new calculations reported here, the consequences to the WD of no mixing of accreted material with core material have been investigated so that the material involved in the explosion has only a Solar composition. WDs with a large range in initial masses and mass accretion rates have been evolved. I find that once sufficient material has been accreted, nuclear burning occurs in all evolutionary sequences and continues until a thermonuclear runaway (TNR occurs and the WD either ejects a small amount of material or its radius grows to about 1012 cm and the evolution is ended. In all cases where mass ejection occurs

  10. The accretion of solar material onto white dwarfs: No mixing with core material implies that the mass of the white dwarf is increasing

    Cataclysmic Variables (CVs) are close binary star systems with one component a white dwarf (WD) and the other a larger cooler star that fills its Roche Lobe. The cooler star is losing mass through the inner Lagrangian point of the binary and some unknown fraction of this material is accreted by the WD. One consequence of the WDs accreting material, is the possibility that they are growing in mass and will eventually reach the Chandrasekhar Limit. This evolution could result in a Supernova Ia (SN Ia) explosion and is designated the Single Degenerate Progenitor (SD) scenario. This paper is concerned with the SD scenario for SN Ia progenitors. One problem with the single degenerate scenario is that it is generally assumed that the accreting material mixes with WD core material at some time during the accretion phase of evolution and, since the typical WD has a carbon-oxygen CO core, the mixing results in large amounts of carbon and oxygen being brought up into the accreted layers. The presence of enriched carbon causes enhanced nuclear fusion and a Classical Nova explosion. Both observations and theoretical studies of these explosions imply that more mass is ejected than is accreted. Thus, the WD in a Classical Nova system is losing mass and cannot be a SN Ia progenitor. However, the composition in the nuclear burning region is important and, in new calculations reported here, the consequences to the WD of no mixing of accreted material with core material have been investigated so that the material involved in the explosion has only a Solar composition. WDs with a large range in initial masses and mass accretion rates have been evolved. I find that once sufficient material has been accreted, nuclear burning occurs in all evolutionary sequences and continues until a thermonuclear runaway (TNR) occurs and the WD either ejects a small amount of material or its radius grows to about 1012 cm and the evolution is ended. In all cases where mass ejection occurs, the mass of

  11. An Accreting White Dwarf near the Chandrasekhar Limit in the Andromeda Galaxy

    Tang, Sumin; Bildsten, Lars; Wolf, William M.; Li, K. L.; Kong, Albert K. H.; Cao, Yi; Cenko, S. Bradley; De Cia, Annalisa; Kasliwal, Mansi M.; Kulkarni, Shrinivas R.; Laher, Russ R.; Masci, Frank; Nugent, Peter E.; Perley, Daniel A.; Prince, Thomas A.; Surace, Jason

    2014-01-01

    The iPTF (Intermediate Palomar Transient Factory) detection of the most recent outburst of the recurrent nova system RX J0045.4+4154 in the Andromeda Galaxy has enabled the unprecedented study of a massive (mass is greater than 1.3 solar masses) accreting white dwarf (WD). We detected this nova as part of the near daily iPTF monitoring of M31 to a depth of R (red band-pass filter) approximately equal to magnitude 21 and triggered optical photometry, spectroscopy and soft X-ray monitoring of the outburst. Peaking at an absolute magnitude of MR (red, mid-infrared band-pass filter) equals magnitude -6.6, and with a decay time of 1 magnitude per day, it is a faint and very fast nova. It shows optical emission lines of He/N and expansion velocities of 1900 to 2600 kilometers per second 1-4 days after the optical peak. The Swift monitoring of the X-ray evolution revealed a supersoft source (SSS) with kT (energy: Boltzmann constant times temperature) (sub eff (effective)) approximately equal to 90-110 electronvolts that appeared within 5 days after the optical peak, and lasted only 12 days. Most remarkably, this is not the first event from this system, rather it is a recurrent nova with a time between outbursts of approximately 1 year, the shortest known. Recurrent X-ray emission from this binary was detected by ROSAT in 1992 and 1993, and the source was well characterized as a mass greater than 1.3 solar masses WD SSS. Based on the observed recurrence time between different outbursts, the duration and effective temperature of the SS phase, MESA models of accreting WDs allow us to constrain the accretion rate to mass greater than 1.7x10 (sup -7) solar masses per year and WD mass greater than 1.30 solar masses. If the WD keeps 30 percent of the accreted material, it will take less than a million years to reach core densities high enough for carbon ignition (if made of C/O) or electron capture (if made of O/Ne) to end the binary evolution.

  12. An irradiated brown-dwarf companion to an accreting white dwarf

    Santisteban, Juan V Hernández; Littlefair, Stuart P; Breton, Rene P; Dhillon, Vikram S; Gänsicke, Boris T; Marsh, Thomas R; Pretorius, Magaretha L; Southworth, John; Hauschildt, Peter H

    2016-01-01

    Brown dwarfs and giant planets orbiting close to a host star are subjected to significant irradiation that can modify the properties of their atmospheres. In order to test the atmospheric models that are used to describe these systems, it is necessary to obtain accurate observational estimates of their physical properties (masses, radii, temperatures, albedos). Interacting compact binary systems provide a natural laboratory for studying strongly irradiated sub-stellar objects. As the mass-losing secondary in these systems makes a critical, but poorly understood transition from the stellar to the sub-stellar regime, it is also strongly irradiated by the compact accretor. In fact, the internal and external energy fluxes are both expected to be comparable in these objects, providing access to an unexplored irradiation regime. However, the atmospheric properties of such donors have so far remained largely unknown. Here, we report the direct spectroscopic detection and characterisation of an irradiated sub-stellar...

  13. An Accreting White Dwarf near the Chandrasekhar Limit in the Andromeda Galaxy

    Tang, Sumin; Wolf, William M; Li, K L; Kong, Albert K H; Cao, Yi; Cenko, S Bradley; De Cia, Annalisa; Kasliwal, Mansi M; Kulkarni, Shrinivas R; Laher, Russ; Masci, Frank; Nugent, Peter E; Perley, Daniel A; Prince, Thomas A; Surace, Jason

    2014-01-01

    The iPTF detection of the most recent outburst of the recurrent nova system RX J0045.4+4154 in the Andromeda Galaxy has enabled the unprecedented study of a massive (M>1.3 $M_\\odot$) accreting white dwarf (WD). We detected this nova as part of the near daily iPTF monitoring of M31 to a depth of R$\\approx$21 and triggered optical photometry, spectroscopy and soft X-ray monitoring of the outburst. Peaking at an absolute magnitude of M_R$\\approx$-6.6 mag, and with a decay time of 1 mag per day, it is a faint and very fast novae. It shows optical emission lines of He/N and expansion velocities of 1900 to 2600 km/s 1-4 days after the optical peak. The Swift monitoring of the X-ray evolution revealed a supersoft source (SSS) with $kT_{eff}$ $\\approx$ 90-110 eV that appeared within 5 days after the optical peak, and lasted only 12 days. Most remarkably, this is not the first event from this system, rather it is a recurrent nova with a time between outbursts of approximately 1 year, the shortest known. Recurrent X-ra...

  14. Radio Observations as a Tool to Investigate Shocks and Asymmetries in Accreting White Dwarf Binaries

    Weston, Jennifer H. S.

    2016-07-01

    This dissertation uses radio observations with the Karl G. Jansky Very Large Array (VLA) to investigate the mechanisms that power and shape accreting white dwarfs (WD) and their ejecta. We test the predictions of both simple spherical and steady-state radio emission models by examining nova V1723 Aql, nova V5589 Sgr, symbiotic CH Cyg, and two small surveys of symbiotic binaries. First, we highlight classical nova V1723 Aql with three years of radio observations alongside optical and X-ray observations. We use these observations to show that multiple outflows from the system collided to create early non-thermal shocks with a brightness temperature of ≥106 K. While the late-time radio light curve is roughly consistent an expanding thermal shell of mass 2x10-4 M⊙ solar masses, resolved images of V1723 Aql show elongated material that apparently rotates its major axis over the course of 15 months, much like what is seen in gamma-ray producing nova V959 Mon, suggesting similar structures in the two systems. Next, we examine nova V5589 Sgr, where we find that the early radio emission is dominated by a shock-powered non-thermal flare that produces strong (kTx > 33 keV) X-rays. We additionally find roughly 10-5 M⊙ solar masses of thermal bremsstrahlung emitting material, all at a distance of ~4 kpc. The similarities in the evolution of both V1723 Aql and V5589 Sgr to that of nova V959 Mon suggest that these systems may all have dense equatorial tori shaping faster flows at their poles. Turning our focus to symbiotic binaries, we first use our radio observations of CH Cyg to link the ejection of a collimated jet to a change of state in the accretion disk. We additionally estimate the amount of mass ejected during this period (10-7 M⊙ masses), and improve measurements of the period of jet precession (P=12013 ± 74 days). We then use our survey of eleven accretion-driven symbiotic systems to determine that the radio brightness of a symbiotic system could potentially

  15. Super-Eddington wind scenario for the progenitors of type Ia supernovae: Accreting He-rich matter onto white dwarfs

    Wang, Bo; Ma, Xin; Liu, Dongdong; Cui, Xiao; Han, Zhanwen

    2015-01-01

    Supernovae of type Ia (SNe Ia) are believed to be thermonuclear explosions of carbon-oxygen white dwarfs (CO WDs). However, the mass accretion process onto CO WDs is still not completely understood. In this paper, we study the accretion of He-rich matter onto CO WDs and explore a scenario in which a strong wind forms on the surface of the WD if the total luminosity exceeds the Eddington limit. Using a stellar evolution code called modules for experiments in stellar astrophysics (MESA), we simulated the He accretion process onto CO WDs for WDs with masses of 0.6-1.35Msun and various accretion rates of 10^{-8}-10^{-5}Msun/yr. If the contribution of the total luminosity is included when determining the Eddington accretion rate, then a super-Eddington wind could be triggered at relatively lower accretion rates than those of previous studies based on steady-state models. The super-Eddington wind can prevent the WDs with high accretion rates from evolving into red-giant-like He stars. We found that the contribution...

  16. On the Effect of Explosive Thermonuclear Burning on the Accreted Envelopes of White Dwarfs in Cataclysmic Variables

    Sion, Edward M

    2014-01-01

    The detection of heavy elements at suprasolar abundances in the atmospheres of some accreting white dwarfs in cataclysmic variables, coupled with the high temperatures needed to produce these elements requires explosive thermonuclear burning. The central temperatures of any formerly more massive secondary stars in CVs undergoing hydrostatic CNO burning are far too low to produce these elements. Evidence is presented that at least some cataclysmic variables contain donor secondaries that have been contaminated by repeated novae ejecta and are transferring this material back to the white dwarf. This scenario does not exclude the channel in which formerly more massive donor stars underwent CNO processing in ystems that underwent thermal timescale mass transfer. Implications for the progenitors of CVs are discussed.

  17. The Stability of Double White Dwarf Binaries Undergoing Direct Impact Accretion

    Motl, Patrick M; Frank, Juhan; Tohline, Joel E; D'Souza, Mario C. R.

    2007-01-01

    We present numerical simulations of dynamically unstable mass transfer in a double white dwarf binary with initial mass ratio, q = 0.4. The binary components are approximated as polytropes of index n = 3/2 and the initially synchronously rotating, semi-detached equilibrium binary is evolved hydrodynamically with the gravitational potential being computed through the solution of Poisson's equation. Upon initiating deep contact in our baseline simulation, the mass transfer rate grows by more th...

  18. X-ray and ultraviolet radiation from accreting white dwarfs. IV - Two-temperature treatment with electron thermal conduction

    Imamura, J. N.; Durisen, R. H.; Lamb, D. Q.; Weast, G. J.

    1987-01-01

    Results are reported from two-temperature calculations of the structures and X-ray spectra of radiation shocks generated by accretion onto nonmagnetic white dwarfs. The approach was necessitated by the domination of bremsstrahlung in the emission region by Compton cooling. Features of the shock model, which includes steady, spherical infall of fully ionized plasma and dominance of the stand-off shock by collisional processes, are summarized. A maximum hard X-ray temperature of about 50 keV and a maximum hard X-ray luminosity of 2 x 10 to the 36th ergs/sec were obtained. The results prove that the bulk of accretion energy cannot be transported to the star by electron thermal conduction, provided that bremsstrahlung cooling is dominant over cyclotron cooling.

  19. ENIGMATIC RECURRENT PULSATIONAL VARIABILITY OF THE ACCRETING WHITE DWARF EQ LYN (SDSS J074531.92+453829.6)

    Mukadam, Anjum S.; Szkody, Paula [Department of Astronomy, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195-1580 (United States); Townsley, D. M.; Brockett, T. [Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487 (United States); Gaensicke, B. T.; Parsons, S. [Department of Physics, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL (United Kingdom); Southworth, J. [Astrophysics Group, Keele University, Staffordshire ST5 5BG (United Kingdom); Hermes, J. J.; Montgomery, M. H.; Winget, D. E.; Harrold, S. [Department of Astronomy, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78759 (United States); Tovmassian, G.; Zharikov, S. [Observatorio Astronomico Nacional SPM, Instituto de Astronomia, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Ensenada, BC (Mexico); Drake, A. J. [Department of Astronomy and the Center for Advanced Computing Research, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA 91225 (United States); Henden, A. [American Association of Variable Star Observers, 25 Birch Street, Cambridge, MA 02138 (United States); Rodriguez-Gil, P. [Departamento de Astrofisica, Universidad de La Laguna, La Laguna, E-38204 Santa Cruz de Tenerife (Spain); Sion, E. M. [Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Villanova University, Villanova, PA 19085 (United States); Zola, S.; Szymanski, T. [Astronomical Observatory, Jagiellonian University, ul. Orla 171, PL-30-244 Krakow (Poland); Pavlenko, E. [Crimean Astrophysical Observatory, Crimea 98409 (Ukraine); and others

    2013-09-15

    Photometric observations of the cataclysmic variable EQ Lyn (SDSS J074531.92+453829.6), acquired from 2005 October to 2006 January, revealed high-amplitude variability in the range 1166-1290 s. This accreting white dwarf underwent an outburst in 2006 October, during which its brightness increased by at least five magnitudes, and it started exhibiting superhumps in its light curve. Upon cooling to quiescence, the superhumps disappeared and it displayed the same periods in 2010 February as prior to the outburst within the uncertainties of a couple of seconds. This behavior suggests that the observed variability is likely due to nonradial pulsations in the white dwarf star, whose core structure has not been significantly affected by the outburst. The enigmatic observations begin with an absence of pulsational variability during a multi-site campaign conducted in 2011 January-February without any evidence of a new outburst; the light curve is instead dominated by superhumps with periods in the range of 83-87 minutes. Ultraviolet Hubble Space Telescope time-series spectroscopy acquired in 2011 March reveals an effective temperature of 15,400 K, placing EQ Lyn within the broad instability strip of 10,500-16,000 K for accreting pulsators. The ultraviolet light curve with 90% flux from the white dwarf shows no evidence of any pulsations. Optical photometry acquired during 2011 and Spring 2012 continues to reflect the presence of superhumps and an absence of pulsations. Subsequent observations acquired in 2012 December and 2013 January finally indicate the disappearance of superhumps and the return of pulsational variability with similar periods as previous data. However, our most recent data from 2013 March to May reveal superhumps yet again with no sign of pulsations. We speculate that this enigmatic post-outburst behavior of the frequent disappearance of pulsational variability in EQ Lyn is caused either by heating the white dwarf beyond the instability strip due to an

  20. Singing and dancing white dwarfs

    Accreting white dwarfs have recently been shown to exhibit non-radial pulsations similar to their non-interacting counterparts. This allows us to probe the interior of the accreting white dwarf using seismology, and may be the only way to determine masses for non-eclipsing cataclysmic variables. Improving our understanding of accreting white dwarfs will have implications for models of supernovae Type Ia. Pulsating white dwarfs in cataclysmic variables are also useful in establishing the effects of accretion on pulsations. A search for nonradial pulsations among suitable candidates has led to the discovery of twelve such systems known to date. With the goal of establishing an instability strip (or strips) for these pulsating accretors, we acquired HST ultra-violet time-series spectroscopy of six pulsating white dwarfs in cataclysmic variables in 2007 and 2008. This approach enables us to measure the effective temperature of the white dwarf using the co-added spectrum, and to simultaneously characterize the pulsations. We also intended to constrain the pulsation mode identification by comparing the ultra-violet amplitudes to those from near-simultaneous ground-based photometry. Our preliminary results indicate a broad instability strip in the temperature range of 10500-15400 K.

  1. Singing and dancing white dwarfs

    Mukadam, Anjum S; Szkody, Paula [Department of Astronomy, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195 (United States); Gaensicke, Boris T [Department of Physics, University of Warwick, Coventry, CV4 7AL (United Kingdom); Nitta, Atsuko, E-mail: anjum@astro.washington.ed [Gemini Observatory, Hilo, HI 96720 (United States)

    2009-06-01

    Accreting white dwarfs have recently been shown to exhibit non-radial pulsations similar to their non-interacting counterparts. This allows us to probe the interior of the accreting white dwarf using seismology, and may be the only way to determine masses for non-eclipsing cataclysmic variables. Improving our understanding of accreting white dwarfs will have implications for models of supernovae Type Ia. Pulsating white dwarfs in cataclysmic variables are also useful in establishing the effects of accretion on pulsations. A search for nonradial pulsations among suitable candidates has led to the discovery of twelve such systems known to date. With the goal of establishing an instability strip (or strips) for these pulsating accretors, we acquired HST ultra-violet time-series spectroscopy of six pulsating white dwarfs in cataclysmic variables in 2007 and 2008. This approach enables us to measure the effective temperature of the white dwarf using the co-added spectrum, and to simultaneously characterize the pulsations. We also intended to constrain the pulsation mode identification by comparing the ultra-violet amplitudes to those from near-simultaneous ground-based photometry. Our preliminary results indicate a broad instability strip in the temperature range of 10500-15400 K.

  2. Formation of Binary Millisecond Pulsars by Accretion-Induced Collapse of White Dwarfs under Wind-Driven Evolution

    Ablimit, Iminhaji

    2014-01-01

    Accretion-induced collapse of massive white dwarfs (WDs) has been proposed to be an important channel to form binary millisecond pulsars (MSPs). Recent investigations on thermal timescale mass transfer in WD binaries demonstrate that the resultant MSPs are likely to have relatively wide orbit periods ($\\gtrsim 10$ days). Here we calculate the evolution of WD binaries taking into account the excited wind from the companion star induced by X-ray irradiation of the accreting WD, which may drive rapid mass transfer even when the companion star is less massive than the WD. This scenario can naturally explain the formation of the strong-field neutron star in the low-mass X-ray binary 4U 1822$-$37. After AIC the mass transfer resumes when the companion star refills its Roche lobe, and the neutron star is recycled due to mass accretion. A large fraction of the binaries will evolve to become binary MSPs with a He WD companion, with the orbital periods distributed between $\\gtrsim 0.1$ day and $\\lesssim 30$ days, while...

  3. The SW Sex-type star 2MASS J01074282+4845188: an unusual bright accretion disk with non-steady emission and a hot white dwarf

    Khruzina, T; Kjurkchieva, D; 10.1051/0004-6361/201220385

    2013-01-01

    We present new photometric and spectral observations of the newly discovered nova-like eclipsing star 2MASS J01074282+4845188. To obtain a light curve solution we used model of a nova-like star whose emission sources are a white dwarf surrounded by an accretion disk, a secondary star filling its Roche lobe, a hot spot and a hot line. 2MASS J01074282+4845188 shows the deepest permanent eclipse among the known nova-like stars. It is reproduced by covering the very bright accretion disk by the secondary component. The luminosity of the disk is much bigger than that of the rest light sources. The determined high temperature of the disk is typical for that observed during the outbursts of CVs. The primary of 2MASS J01074282+4845188 is one of the hottest white dwarfs in CVs. The temperature of 5090 K of its secondary is also quite high and more appropriate for a long-period SW Sex star. It might be explained by the intense heating from the hot white dwarf and the hot accretion disk of the target. The high mass accr...

  4. Simulations of Double White Dwarf Mergers

    Motl, Patick; Staff, Jan; Marcello, Dominic; Clayton, Geoffrey; Frank, Juhan

    2016-03-01

    We present numerical simulations of double white dwarf mergers initiated by mass transfer instability. In particular, we are interested in the possible connection between such double degenerate mergers and the peculiar irregular variable R Corona Borealis stars. For the merger of a Carbon-Oxygen white dwarf with a Helium white dwarf, the degree to which Carbon from the accreting star is dredged up plays a crucial role in the appearance of the rejuvenated, merged object. We explore the amount of dredge up in the accreting star and its influence in stellar evolution models initialized from the merged object resulting from dynamical evolutions.

  5. White Dwarfs Cosmological and Galactic Probes

    Sion, Edward M; Vennes, Stéphane

    2005-01-01

    The emphasis on white dwarf stars and cosmology arises from the most recent advances in cosmological and galactic structure research in which white dwarf stars are playing a very prominent role. Examples are Type Ia supernovae (i.e. white dwarf supernovae), the origin and evolution of the universe, the age of the galactic disk, cosmochronology using white dwarfs in globular clusters and galactic clusters, and the physics of accretion onto compact (very dense) stars. As an assisting guide to the reader, we have included, by invitation, comprehensive review articles in each of the four major areas of the book, white dwarf supernovae, cosmology, accretion physics and galactic structure. The reviews include introductory material that they build upon. The book is suitable and most useful to advanced undergraduates, graduate students and scientific professionals (e.g. astronomers, astrophysicists, cosmologists, physicists).

  6. White Dwarf Stars

    Kawaler, Steven; Dahlstrom, Michael

    2000-12-01

    A white dwarf is a very dense star: The earth-sized remains of a Sun-like star that has burned all of its nuclear fuel. Although it's unable to carry out the workaday activities of a living star, a white dwarf is still an interesting object to astronomers. For one thing, white dwarfs experience "starquakes"—gentle pulsations that allow astronomers to deduce certain physical qualities of the star, such as its mass, rate of rotation, its structure and the strength of its magnetic field. The authors have been studying the starquakes with a global network of instruments, collectively called the Whole Earth Telescope, which provide around-the-clock observations of a white dwarf's seismic activity. Kawaler and Dahlstrom discuss what we know about white dwarfs and their significance for questions concerning the age of our Galaxy and the composition of dark matter.

  7. Detection of Weak Circumstellar Gas around the DAZ White Dwarf WD 1124-293: Evidence for the Accretion of Multiple Asteroids

    Debes, J H; Faedi, F; Shkolnik, E L; Lopez-Morales, M; Weinberger, A J; Slesnick, C; West, R G

    2012-01-01

    Single metal polluted white dwarfs with no dusty disks are believed to be actively accreting metals from a circumstellar disk of gas caused by the destruction of asteroids perturbed by planetary systems. We report, for the first time, the detection of circumstellar Ca~II gas in absorption around the DAZ WD~1124-293, which lacks an infrared excess. We constrain the gas to $>$7 $R_{\\rm WD}$ and $$ R$_{\\rm \\oplus}$ using the WASP survey. The presence of gas in orbit around WD~1124-293 implies that most DAZs could harbor planetary systems. Since 25-30\\% of white dwarfs show metal line absorption, the dynamical process for perturbing small bodies must be robust.

  8. White dwarf-red dwarf binaries in the Galaxy

    Besselaar, E.J.M. van den

    2007-01-01

    This PhD thesis shows several studies on white dwarf - red dwarf binaries. White dwarfs are the end products of most stars and red dwarfs are normal hydrogen burning low-mass stars. White dwarf - red dwarf binaries are both blue (white dwarf) and red (red dwarf). Together with the fact that they are

  9. Measuring M dwarf Winds with DAZ White Dwarfs

    Debes, J H

    2006-01-01

    Hydrogen atmosphere white dwarfs with metal lines, so-called DAZs, show evidence for ongoing accretion of material onto their surfaces. Some DAZs are known to have unresolved M dwarf companions, which could account for the observed accretion through a stellar wind. I combine observed Ca abundances of the DAZs with information on the orbital separation of their M dwarf companions to infer the mass loss rate of the M dwarfs. I find that for three of the six known DAZs with M dwarf companions, a stellar wind can plausibly explain the observed accretion on the white dwarfs assuming Bondi-Hoyle accretion of solar abundance stellar winds on the order of 10$^{-14}-10^{-16}\\Msun$ yr$^{-1}$. The rest of the sample have companions with orbits $\\gtorder$ 1~AU, and require companion mass loss rates of $> 10^{-11}\\Msun$ yr$^{-1}$. I conclude that there must be an alternative explanation for accretion of material onto DAZs with widely separated companions. The inferred winds for two of the close binaries are orders of magn...

  10. White dwarf pulsations

    The DA white dwarfs are those which show only the Stark-broadened lines of hydrogen in their spectra. They comprise about 80% of the total white dwarf population. A subset of the DA dwarfs, the ZZ Ceti stars, form a highly homogeneous class of nonradially pulsating variable stars. In this paper we shall review the observations from which both the physical properties of the stars and the characteristics of the pulsations have been derived. Data obtained since the last review of these variables (Robinson 1979) is stressed, as these data are forcing a somewhat revised understanding of the ZZ Ceti stars and their relationship to investigations of white dwarfs and to pulsating variable stars, in general. (orig.)

  11. White dwarf planets

    Bonsor Amy; Veras Dimitri; Villaver Eva; Mustill Alexander J.; Wyatt Mark C.

    2013-01-01

    The recognition that planets may survive the late stages of stellar evolution, and the prospects for finding them around White Dwarfs, are growing. We discuss two aspects governing planetary survival through stellar evolution to the White Dwarf stage. First we discuss the case of a single planet, and its survival under the effects of stellar mass loss, radius expansion, and tidal orbital decay as the star evolves along the Asymptotic Giant Branch. We show that, for stars initially of 1 − 5 M⊙...

  12. Inward Propagation of Nuclear-Burning Shells in Merging C-O and He White Dwarfs

    Saio, H; Nomoto, K.

    1998-01-01

    We have investigated the consequences of merging double white dwarf systems by calculating evolutionary models of accreting white dwarfs. We have considered two cases; a massive C-O white dwarf of ~1M_sun accreting C-O mixture, and a low mass white dwarf with an initial mass of 0.4M_sun accreting matter composed mostly of helium. The accretion rate of the C-O white dwarf is assumed to be 1x10^{-5}M_sun/y. After carbon burning is ignited at $M_r\\sim1.04M_\\odot$, the flame propagates inward due...

  13. Time dependent models of accretion disks with nuclear burning following the tidal disruption of a white dwarf by a neutron star

    Margalit, Ben

    2016-01-01

    We construct time-dependent one-dimensional (vertically averaged) models of accretion disks produced by the tidal disruption of a white dwarf (WD) by a binary neutron star (NS) companion. Nuclear reactions in the disk midplane burn the WD matter to increasingly heavier elements at sequentially smaller radii, releasing substantial energy which can impact the disk dynamics. A model for disk outflows is employed, by which cooling from the outflow balances other sources of heating (viscous, nuclear) in regulating the Bernoulli parameter of the midplane to a fixed value $\\lesssim 0$. We perform a comprehensive parameter study of the compositional yields and velocity distributions of the disk outflows for WDs of different initial compositions. For C/O WDs, the radial composition profile of the disk evolves self-similarly in a quasi-steady-state manner, and is remarkably robust to model parameters. The nucleosynthesis in helium WD disks does not exhibit this behavior, which instead depends sensitively on factors con...

  14. WHITE DWARF/M DWARF BINARIES AS SINGLE DEGENERATE PROGENITORS OF TYPE Ia SUPERNOVAE

    Limits on the companions of white dwarfs in the single-degenerate scenario for the origin of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) have gotten increasingly tight, yet igniting a nearly Chandrasekhar mass C/O white dwarf from a condition of near hydrostatic equilibrium provides compelling agreement with observed spectral evolution. The only type of non-degenerate stars that survive the tight limits, MV ∼> 8.4 on the SN Ia in SNR 0509-67.5 and MV ∼> 9.5 in the remnant of SN 1572, are M dwarfs. While M dwarfs are observed in cataclysmic variables, they have special properties that have not been considered in most work on the progenitors of SNe Ia: they have small but finite magnetic fields and they flare frequently. These properties are explored in the context of SN Ia progenitors. White dwarf/M dwarf pairs may be sufficiently plentiful to provide, in principle, an adequate rate of explosions even with slow orbital evolution due to magnetic braking or gravitational radiation. Even modest magnetic fields on the white dwarf and M dwarf will yield adequate torques to lock the two stars together, resulting in a slowly rotating white dwarf, with the magnetic poles pointing at one another in the orbital plane. The mass loss will be channeled by a 'magnetic bottle' connecting the two stars, landing on a concentrated polar area on the white dwarf. This enhances the effective rate of accretion compared to spherical accretion. Luminosity from accretion and hydrogen burning on the surface of the white dwarf may induce self-excited mass transfer. The combined effects of self-excited mass loss, polar accretion, and magnetic inhibition of mixing of accretion layers give possible means to beat the 'nova limit' and grow the white dwarf to the Chandrasekhar mass even at rather moderate mass accretion rates.

  15. White Dwarf/M Dwarf Binaries as Single Degenerate Progenitors of Type Ia Supernovae

    Wheeler, J. Craig

    2012-10-01

    Limits on the companions of white dwarfs in the single-degenerate scenario for the origin of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia) have gotten increasingly tight, yet igniting a nearly Chandrasekhar mass C/O white dwarf from a condition of near hydrostatic equilibrium provides compelling agreement with observed spectral evolution. The only type of non-degenerate stars that survive the tight limits, MV >~ 8.4 on the SN Ia in SNR 0509-67.5 and MV >~ 9.5 in the remnant of SN 1572, are M dwarfs. While M dwarfs are observed in cataclysmic variables, they have special properties that have not been considered in most work on the progenitors of SNe Ia: they have small but finite magnetic fields and they flare frequently. These properties are explored in the context of SN Ia progenitors. White dwarf/M dwarf pairs may be sufficiently plentiful to provide, in principle, an adequate rate of explosions even with slow orbital evolution due to magnetic braking or gravitational radiation. Even modest magnetic fields on the white dwarf and M dwarf will yield adequate torques to lock the two stars together, resulting in a slowly rotating white dwarf, with the magnetic poles pointing at one another in the orbital plane. The mass loss will be channeled by a "magnetic bottle" connecting the two stars, landing on a concentrated polar area on the white dwarf. This enhances the effective rate of accretion compared to spherical accretion. Luminosity from accretion and hydrogen burning on the surface of the white dwarf may induce self-excited mass transfer. The combined effects of self-excited mass loss, polar accretion, and magnetic inhibition of mixing of accretion layers give possible means to beat the "nova limit" and grow the white dwarf to the Chandrasekhar mass even at rather moderate mass accretion rates.

  16. Nuclear-dominated accretion and subluminous supernovae from the merger of a white dwarf with a neutron star or black hole

    Metzger, Brian D

    2011-01-01

    We construct one dimensional steady-state models of accretion disks produced by the tidal disruption of a white dwarf (WD) by a neutron star (NS) or stellar mass black hole (BH). At radii r 50-80 per cent of the total WD mass is unbound. The ejecta composition is predominantly O, C, Si, Mg, Ne, Fe, and S [He, C, Si, S, Ar, and Fe], in the case of C-O [He] WDs, respectively, along with a small quantity ~1e-3-1e-2 Msun of radioactive Ni56 and, potentially, a trace amount of H. We use our results to evaluate possible EM counterparts of WD-NS/BH mergers, including optical transients powered by the radioactive decay of Ni56 and radio transients powered by the interaction of the ejecta with the interstellar medium. We address whether recently discovered subluminous Type I supernovae result from WD-NS/BH mergers. Our results also have implications for accretion following the core collapse of massive stars in collapsar models for gamma-ray bursts.

  17. Stark Broadening and White Dwarfs

    Dimitrijevic, Milan S; Simic, Zoran; Sahal-Brechot, Sylvie

    2012-01-01

    White dwarf and pre-white dwarf atmospheres are one of the best examples for the application of Stark broadening research results in astrophysics, due to plasma conditions very favorable for this line broadening mechanism. For example in hot hydrogen-deficient (pre-) white dwarf stars Teff = 75 000 K - 180 000 K and log g = 5.5-8 [cgs]. Even for much cooler DA and DB white dwarfs with typical effective temperatures of 10 000 K - 20 000 K, Stark broadening is usually the dominant broadening mechanism. In this review, Stark broadening in white dwarf spectra is considered and the attention is drawn to the STARK-B database (http://stark-b.obspm.fr/), containing Stark broadening parameters needed for white dwarf spectra analysis and synthesis, as well as to the new search facilities which will provide the collective effort to develop Virtual Atomic and Molecular Data Center (VAMDC - http://vamdc.org/).

  18. The white dwarf luminosity function

    García-Berro, Enrique

    2016-01-01

    White dwarfs are the final remnants of low- and intermediate-mass stars. Their evolution is essentially a cooling process that lasts for $\\sim 10$ Gyr. Their observed properties provide information about the history of the Galaxy, its dark matter content and a host of other interesting astrophysical problems. Examples of these include an independent determination of the past history of the local star formation rate, identification of the objects responsible for the reported microlensing events, constraints on the rate of change of the gravitational constant, and upper limits to the mass of weakly interacting massive particles. To carry on these tasks the essential observational tools are the luminosity and mass functions of white dwarfs, whereas the theoretical tools are the evolutionary sequences of white dwarf progenitors, and the corresponding white dwarf cooling sequences. In particular, the observed white dwarf luminosity function is the key manifestation of the white dwarf cooling theory, although other...

  19. Solidification of carbon-oxygen white dwarfs

    Schatzman, E.

    1982-01-01

    The internal structure of white dwarfs is discussed. Highly correlated plasmas are reviewed. Implications for phase separation in the core of cooling white dwarfs are considered. The consequences for evolution of white dwarfs are addressed.

  20. Magnetized White Dwarfs

    Terrero, D Alvear; Martínez, A Pérez

    2016-01-01

    The purpose of this thesis is to obtain more realistic equations of state to describe the matter forming magnetized white dwarfs, and use them to solve its structure equations. The equations of state are determined by considering the weak magnetic field approximation $Bwhite dwarfs. Also, we consider the energy and pressure correction due to the Coulomb interaction of the electron gas with the ions located in a crystal lattice. Moreover, spherically symmetric Tolman-Oppenheimer-Volkoff structure equations are solved independently for the perpendicular and parallel pressures, confirming the necessity of using axisymmetric structure equations, more adequate to describe the anisotropic system. Therefore, we study the solutions in cylindrical coordinates. In this case, the mass per longitude unit is obtained instead of the total mass of the whit...

  1. Time-dependent models of accretion discs with nuclear burning following the tidal disruption of a white dwarf by a neutron star

    Margalit, Ben; Metzger, Brian D.

    2016-09-01

    We construct time-dependent one-dimensional (vertically averaged) models of accretion discs produced by the tidal disruption of a white dwarf (WD) by a binary neutron star (NS) companion. Nuclear reactions in the disc mid-plane burn the WD matter to increasingly heavier elements at sequentially smaller radii, releasing substantial energy which can impact the disc dynamics. A model for disc outflows is employed, by which cooling from the outflow balances other sources of heating (viscous, nuclear) in regulating the Bernoulli parameter of the mid-plane to a fixed value ≲0. We perform a comprehensive parameter study of the compositional yields and velocity distributions of the disc outflows for WDs of different initial compositions. For C/O WDs, the radial composition profile of the disc evolves self-similarly in a quasi-steady-state manner, and is remarkably robust to model parameters. The nucleosynthesis in helium WD discs does not exhibit this behaviour, which instead depends sensitively on factors controlling the disc mid-plane density (e.g. the strength of the viscosity, α). By the end of the simulation, a substantial fraction of the WD mass is unbound in outflows at characteristic velocities of ˜109 cm s-1. The outflows from WD-NS merger discs contain 10-4-3 × 10-3 M⊙ of radioactive 56Ni, resulting in fast (˜ week long) dim (˜1040 erg s-1) optical transients; shock heating of the ejecta by late-time outflows may increase the peak luminosity to ˜1043 erg s-1. The accreted mass on to the NS is probably not sufficient to induce gravitational collapse, but may be capable of spinning up the NS to periods of ˜10 ms, illustrating the feasibility of this channel in forming isolated millisecond pulsars.

  2. Asteroseismology of white dwarf stars

    Córsico, A H

    2014-01-01

    Most of low- and intermediate-mass stars that populate the Universe will end their lives as white dwarf stars. These ancient stellar remnants have encrypted inside a precious record of the evolutionary history of the progenitor stars, providing a wealth of information about the evolution of stars, star formation, and the age of a variety of stellar populations, such as our Galaxy and open and globular clusters. While some information like surface chemical composition, temperature and gravity of white dwarfs can be inferred from spectroscopy, the internal structure of these compact stars can be unveiled only by means of asteroseismology, an approach based on the comparison between the observed pulsation periods of variable stars and the periods of appropriate theoretical models. In this communication, we first briefly describe the physical properties of white dwarf stars and the various families of pulsating white dwarfs known up to the present day, and then we present two recent analysis carried out by the La...

  3. White Dwarf Planets from GAIA

    Silvotti, Roberto; Sozzetti, Alessandro; Lattanzi, Mario

    2010-01-01

    We investigate the potential of high-precision astrometry with GAIA for detection of giant planetary companions to nearby white dwarfs. If one considers that, to date, no confirmed planets around single white dwarfs are known, the results from GAIA will be crucial to study the late-stage evolution of planetary systems and to verify the possibility that 2nd-generation planets are formed.

  4. Magnetic white dwarfs with debris discs

    Külebi, Baybars; Lorén-Aguilar, Pablo; Isern, Jordi; García-Berro, Enrique

    2013-01-01

    It has long been accepted that a possible mechanism for explaining the existence of magnetic white dwarfs is the merger of a binary white dwarf system, as there are viable mechanisms for producing sustainable magnetic fields within the merger product. However, the lack of rapid rotators in the magnetic white dwarf population has been always considered a problematic issue of this scenario. Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics simulations show that in mergers in which the two white dwarfs have different masses a disc around the central compact object is formed. If the central object is magnetized it can interact with the disc through its magnetosphere. The torque applied by the disc changes the spin of the star, whereas the transferred angular momentum from the star to the disc determines the properties of the disc. In this work we build a model for the disc evolution under the effect of magnetic accretion, and for the angular momentum evolution of the star, which can be compared with the observations. Our model pre...

  5. Luminosity function of white dwarfs

    Trigonometric parallaxes, optical colors, and spectrophotometry are used to derive an empirical luminosity function for cool white dwarfs using the 1/V(max) method. To facilitate comparison with theoretical cooling curves, relations for cool white dwarfs are estimated for T(eff) versus M(V) and for M(V) versus M(bol). The results show that a downturn occurs in the distribution of cool degenerate stars near log luminosity equals about -4.4. The indicated local space density of observed degenerate dwarfs is 0.003 stars/pc exp 3, which corresponds to about 1 percent of the dynamical mass density in the solar neighborhood. 107 references

  6. Quasi-periodic oscillations in accreting magnetic white dwarfs I. Observational constraints in X-ray and optical

    Bonnet-Bidaud, J M; Busschaert, C; Falize, E; Michaut, C

    2015-01-01

    Quasi-periodic oscillations (QPOs) are observed in the optical flux of some polars with typical periods of 1 to 3 s but none have been observed yet in X-rays where a significant part of the accreting energy is released. QPOs are expected and predicted from shock oscillations. Most of the polars have been observed by the XMM-Newton satellite. We made use of the homogeneous set of observations of the polars by XMM-Newton to search for the presence of QPOs in the (0.5-10 keV) energy range and to set significant upper limits for the brightest X-ray polars. We extracted high time-resolution X-ray light curves by taking advantage of the 0.07 sec resolution of the EPIC-PN camera. Among the 65 polars observed with XMM-Newton from 1998 to 2012, a sample of 24 sources was selected on the basis of their counting rate in the PN instrument to secure significant limits. We searched for QPOs using Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) methods and defined limits of detection using statistical tools. Among the sample surveyed, none sh...

  7. A Disintegrating Minor Planet Transiting a White Dwarf

    Vanderburg, Andrew; Johnson, John Asher; Rappaport, Saul; Bieryla, Allyson; Irwin, Jonathan; Lewis, John; Charbonneau, David; Latham, David W.; Ciardi, David; Schaefer, Laura; Kipping, David; Angus, Ruth; Eastman, Jason; Wright, Jason; McCrady, Nate; Wittenmyer, Robert; Dufour, Patrick

    2015-12-01

    Over the past decade, evidence has accumulated suggesting that the photospheres of many white dwarfs are polluted by the remnants of small rocky bodies leftover from the progenitors' planetary systems. The evidence for this scenario is typically indirect and circumstantial. We report observations of a disintegrating minor planet transiting a polluted white dwarf. The transits are 5 minutes long, up to 40% deep, have an asymmetric profile and highly variable transit depths. This system provides strong corroborating evidence for the planet accretion model for white dwarf pollution and lets us watch the destruction of a solar system in real time.

  8. Disintegrating Planetary Bodies Around a White Dwarf

    Kohler, Susanna

    2016-02-01

    Several months ago, the discovery of WD 1145+017 was announced. This white dwarf appears to be orbited by planetary bodies that are actively disintegrating due to the strong gravitational pull of their host. A follow-up study now reveals that this system has dramatically evolved since its discovery.Signs of DisruptionPotential planetary bodies orbiting a white dwarf would be exposed to a particular risk: if their orbits were perturbed and they passed inside the white dwarfs tidal radius, they would be torn apart. Their material could then form a debris disk around the white dwarf and eventually be accreted.Interestingly, we have two pieces of evidence that this actually happens:Weve observed warm, dusty debris disks around ~4% of white dwarfs, andThe atmospheres of ~25-50% of white dwarfs are polluted by heavy elements that have likely accreted recently.But in spite of this indirect evidence of planet disintegration, wed never observed planetary bodies actively being disrupted around white dwarfs until recently.Unusual TransitsIn April 2015, observations by Keplers K2 mission revealed a strange transit signal around WD 1145+017, a white dwarf 570 light-years from Earth that has both a dusty debris disk and a polluted atmosphere. This signal was interpreted as the transit of at least one, and possibly several, disintegrating planetesimals.In a recent follow-up, a team of scientists led by Boris Gnsicke (University of Warwick) obtained high-speed photometry of WD 1145+017 using the ULTRASPEC camera on the 2.4m Thai National Telescope. These observations were taken in November and December of 2015 roughly seven months after the initial photometric observations of the system. They reveal that dramatic changes have occurred in this short time.Rapid EvolutionA sample light curve from TNT/ULTRASPEC, obtained in December 2015 over 3.9 hours. Many varied transits are evident (click for a better view!). Transits labeled in color appear across multiple nights. [Gnsicke et al

  9. Magnetic white dwarfs with debris discs

    Külebi, Baybars; Ekşi, K. Yavuz; Lorén-Aguilar, Pablo; Isern, Jordi; García-Berro, Enrique

    2013-01-01

    It has long been accepted that a possible mechanism for explaining the existence of magnetic white dwarfs is the merger of a binary white dwarf system, as there are viable mechanisms for producing sustainable magnetic fields within the merger product. However, the lack of rapid rotators in the magnetic white dwarf population has been always considered a problematic issue of this scenario. Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics simulations show that in mergers in which the two white dwarfs have diffe...

  10. Double White Dwarf Mergers with CASTRO

    Katz, Maximilian P.; Zingale, M.; Calder, A.; Swesty, F. D.

    2013-01-01

    Type Ia supernovae are among the brightest explosions in the Universe and are recognized as reliable distance indicators. While the accepted cause of these events is the thermonuclear incineration of white dwarf stars instigated by accretion, the characteristics of the donor stars remain under investigation. Recent observational evidence supports the hypothesis that the progenitors of some events are binary white dwarf systems, and has spurred renewed theoretical interest in a merger scenario. We present preliminary work modeling such a system using the modern, three-dimensional compressible hydrodynamics code CASTRO. CASTRO uses an adaptive Eulerian grid to highly resolve features of interest and has been demonstrated to accurately address typical dynamical problems in astrophysics. We present simulations showing that it is an appropriate tool for the case of white dwarfs orbiting each other under Newtonian gravity. We show the capability of the code to conserve energy and angular momentum over multiple orbits, and we discuss the differences between simulations in inertial and co-rotating reference frames. We also present verification tests of the gravity solver and describe the importance of appropriate boundary conditions. With the success of these verification tests, the next step is to apply CASTRO to the inspiral and onset of mass transfer and determine areas of likely nuclear burning. This work was supported in part by the NSF under award AST-1211563.

  11. Branes constrictions with White Dwarfs

    We consider here a robust study of stellar dynamics for white dwarf stars with polytropic matter in the weak-field approximation using the Lane–Emden equation from the brane-world scenario. We also derive an analytical solution to the nonlocal energy density and show the behavior and sensitivity of these stars to the presence of extra dimensions. Similarly, we analyze stability and compactness, in order to show whether it is possible to agree with the conventional wisdom of white dwarfs dynamics. Our results predict an average value of the brane tension of <λ>≳84.818 MeV4, with a standard deviation σ≃82.021 MeV4, which comes from a sample of dwarf stars, being weaker than other astrophysical observations but remaining higher than cosmological results provided by nucleosynthesis among others

  12. Branes constrictions with White Dwarfs

    Garcia-Aspeitia, Miguel A. [Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia, Mexico (Mexico); Unidad Academica de Fisica, Universidad Autonoma de Zacatecas (Mexico)

    2015-11-15

    We consider here a robust study of stellar dynamics for white dwarf stars with polytropic matter in the weak-field approximation using the Lane-Emden equation from the brane-world scenario. We also derive an analytical solution to the nonlocal energy density and show the behavior and sensitivity of these stars to the presence of extra dimensions. Similarly, we analyze stability and compactness, in order to show whether it is possible to agree with the conventional wisdom of white dwarfs dynamics. Our results predict an average value of the brane tension of left angle λ right angle >or similar 84.818 MeV{sup 4}, with a standard deviation σ ≅ 82.021 MeV{sup 4}, which comes from a sample of dwarf stars, being weaker than other astrophysical observations but remaining higher than cosmological results provided by nucleosynthesis among others. (orig.)

  13. Branes constrictions with White Dwarfs

    García-Aspeitia, Miguel A., E-mail: aspeitia@fisica.uaz.edu.mx [Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología, Av, Insurgentes Sur 1582, Colonia Crédito Constructor, Del. Benito Juárez, C.P. 03940, Mexico, D.F. (Mexico); Unidad Académica de Física, Universidad Autónoma de Zacatecas, Calzada Solidaridad esquina con Paseo a la Bufa S/N, C.P. 98060, Zacatecas (Mexico)

    2015-11-06

    We consider here a robust study of stellar dynamics for white dwarf stars with polytropic matter in the weak-field approximation using the Lane–Emden equation from the brane-world scenario. We also derive an analytical solution to the nonlocal energy density and show the behavior and sensitivity of these stars to the presence of extra dimensions. Similarly, we analyze stability and compactness, in order to show whether it is possible to agree with the conventional wisdom of white dwarfs dynamics. Our results predict an average value of the brane tension of <λ>≳84.818 MeV{sup 4}, with a standard deviation σ≃82.021 MeV{sup 4}, which comes from a sample of dwarf stars, being weaker than other astrophysical observations but remaining higher than cosmological results provided by nucleosynthesis among others.

  14. Pulsating Helium Atmosphere White Dwarfs

    Provencal, Judith; Montgomery, Michael H.; Bischoff-Kim, Agnes; Shipman, Harry; Nitta, Atsuko; Whole Earth Telescope Collaboration

    2015-08-01

    The overwhelming majority of all stars currently on the main sequence as well as those from earlier generations will or have ended their stellar lives as white dwarf stars. White dwarfs are rich forensic laboratories linking the history and future evolution of our Galaxy. Their structure and atmospheric composition provide evidence of how the progenitors lived, how they evolved, and how they died. This information reveals details of processes governing the behavior of contemporary main sequence stars. Combined with their distribution in luminosity/temperature, white dwarfs strongly constrain models of galactic and cosmological evolution.GD358 is among the brightest (mv =13.7) and best studied of the pulsating white dwarfs. This helium atmoshere pulsator (DBV) has an extensive photometric database spanning 30 years, including nine multisite Whole Earth Telescope campaigns. GD358 exhibits a range of behaviors, from drastic changes in excited pulsation modes to variable multiplet splittings. We use GD358 as a template for an examination of the DBV class, combining photometric results with recent COS spectroscopy. The results present new questions concerning DB formation and evolution.

  15. The Long-Term Outcomes of Double White Dwarf Mergers

    Schwab, Josiah

    2016-01-01

    Binary star systems composed of two white dwarfs are a natural outcome of stellar evolution. Angular momentum losses from gravitational wave radiation cause the binary system's orbit to shrink until the two white dwarfs merge. The final outcome of the merger depends on the masses of the white dwarfs. Some potential outcomes, such as supernova explosions, may occur during or soon after the merger. Other outcomes, which I will refer to as "long-term" outcomes, occur as the merger remnant cools and its structure adjusts to the new state created during the energetic merger.In my dissertation, I quantitatively explore the long-term outcomes of the mergers of two white dwarfs. I focus primarily on the formation of neutron stars via accretion-induced collapse and the formation of two types of unusual stars, the single sub-dwarf B stars (hot, core helium fusing stars) and the R Coronae Borealis stars (cool, carbon-rich giant stars). Beginning with the results from my previous simulations of the short-lived viscous disk initially present in these remnants, I use the state-of-the-art MESA stellar evolution code to follow their thermal evolution.This work improves the quantitative understanding of which white dwarf binaries lead to a particular outcome and better characterizes the observational signatures of these outcomes. For systems that will undergo accretion-induced collapse, these simulations yield improved progenitor models that can then be used to explore the collapse and formation of a neutron star.

  16. Magnetars and White Dwarf Pulsars

    Lobato, Ronaldo V; Coelho, Jaziel G

    2016-01-01

    The Anomalous X-ray Pulsars (AXPs) and Soft Gamma-ray Repeaters (SGRs) are a class of pulsars understood as neutron stars (NSs) with super strong surface magnetic fields, namely $B\\gtrsim10^{14}$ G, and for that reason are known as Magnetars. However, in the last years some SGRs/AXPs with low surface magnetic fields $B\\sim(10^{12}-10^{13})$ G have been detected, challenging the Magnetar description. Moreover, some fast and very magnetic white dwarfs (WDs) have also been observed, and at least one showed X-Ray energy emission as an ordinary pulsar. Following this fact, an alternative model based on white dwarfs pulsars has been proposed to explain this special class of pulsars. In this model, AXPs and SGRs as dense and magnetized white dwarfs can have surface magnetic field $B\\sim 10^{7}-10^{10}$ G and rotate very fast with frequencies $\\Omega\\sim 1$ rad/s, consistent with the observed rotation periods $P\\sim (2-12)$ s.

  17. THE WHITE DWARF IN EM CYGNI: BEYOND THE VEIL

    We present a spectral analysis of the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) spectra of the eclipsing double-line spectroscopic binary EM Cygni (EM Cyg), a Z Cam DN system. The FUSE spectrum, obtained in quiescence, consists of four individual exposures (orbits): two exposures, at orbital phases φ ∼ 0.65 and φ ∼ 0.90, have a lower flux; and two exposures, at orbital phases φ = 0.15 and 0.45, have a relatively higher flux. The change of flux level as a function of the orbital phase is consistent with the stream material (flowing over and below the disk from the hot spot region to smaller radii) partially masking the white dwarf. We carry out a spectral analysis of the FUSE data, obtained at phase 0.45 (when the flux is maximal), using synthetic spectra generated with the codes TLUSTY and SYNSPEC. Using a single white dwarf spectral component, we obtain a white dwarf temperature of 40, 000 K ± 1000 K, rotating at 100 km s-1. The white dwarf, or conceivably, the material overflowing the disk rim, shows suprasolar abundances of silicon, sulphur, and possibly nitrogen. Using a white dwarf+disk composite model, we obtain that the white dwarf temperature could be even as high as 50,000 K, contributing more than 90% of the FUV flux, and the disk contributing less than 10% must have a mass accretion rate reaching 10-10 Msun yr-1. The single white dwarf model fits the absorption lines better than the white dwarf+disk model, but the white dwarf+disk model fits better the continuum in the shorter wavelengths. In both cases, however, we obtain that the white dwarf temperature is much higher than previously estimated. We emphasize the importance of modeling the spectra of EM Cyg around phase φ < 0.5, when the white dwarf and disk are facing the observer, and we suggest that the discrepancy between the present analysis and previous spectral analysis might be due to the occulting effect of the stream veiling the white dwarf and disk.

  18. A disintegrating minor planet transiting a white dwarf

    Vanderburg, Andrew; Rappaport, Saul; Bieryla, Allyson; Irwin, Jonathan; Lewis, John Arban; Kipping, David; Brown, Warren R; Dufour, Patrick; Ciardi, David R; Angus, Ruth; Schaefer, Laura; Latham, David W; Charbonneau, David; Beichman, Charles; Eastman, Jason; McCrady, Nate; Wittenmyer, Robert A; Wright, Jason T

    2015-01-01

    White dwarfs are the end state of most stars, including the Sun, after they exhaust their nuclear fuel. Between 1/4 and 1/2 of white dwarfs have elements heavier than helium in their atmospheres, even though these elements should rapidly settle into the stellar interiors unless they are occasionally replenished. The abundance ratios of heavy elements in white dwarf atmospheres are similar to rocky bodies in the Solar system. This and the existence of warm dusty debris disks around about 4% of white dwarfs suggest that rocky debris from white dwarf progenitors' planetary systems occasionally pollute the stars' atmospheres. The total accreted mass can be comparable to that of large asteroids in the solar system. However, the process of disrupting planetary material has not yet been observed. Here, we report observations of a white dwarf being transited by at least one and likely multiple disintegrating planetesimals with periods ranging from 4.5 hours to 4.9 hours. The strongest transit signals occur every 4.5 ...

  19. The frequency of planetary debris around young white dwarfs

    Koester, Detlev; Farihi, Jay

    2014-01-01

    (Abridged) We present the results of the first unbiased survey for metal pollution among H-atmosphere (DA) white dwarfs with cooling ages of 20-200 Myr and 17000K 0.8 Msun is found to be currently accreting, which suggests a large fraction are double-degenerate mergers, and the merger discs do not commonly reform large planetesimals or otherwise pollute the remnant. We reconfirm our previous finding that two white dwarf Hyads are currently accreting rocky debris. At least 27%, and possibly up to ~50%, of all white dwarfs with cooling ages 20-200 Myr are accreting planetary debris. At Teff > 23000K, the luminosity of white dwarfs is likely sufficient to vaporize circumstellar dust, and hence no stars with strong metal-pollution are found. However, planetesimal disruption events should occur in this cooling age and Teff range as well, and likely result in short phases of high mass transfer rates. It appears that the formation of rocky planetary material is common around 2-3 Msun late B- and A-type stars.

  20. A disintegrating minor planet transiting a white dwarf

    Vanderburg, Andrew; Johnson, John Asher; Rappaport, Saul; Bieryla, Allyson; Irwin, Jonathan; Lewis, John Arban; Kipping, David; Brown, Warren R.; Dufour, Patrick; Ciardi, David R.; Angus, Ruth; Schaefer, Laura; Latham, David W.; Charbonneau, David; Beichman, Charles; Eastman, Jason; McCrady, Nate; Wittenmyer, Robert A.; Wright, Jason T.

    2015-10-01

    Most stars become white dwarfs after they have exhausted their nuclear fuel (the Sun will be one such). Between one-quarter and one-half of white dwarfs have elements heavier than helium in their atmospheres, even though these elements ought to sink rapidly into the stellar interiors (unless they are occasionally replenished). The abundance ratios of heavy elements in the atmospheres of white dwarfs are similar to the ratios in rocky bodies in the Solar System. This fact, together with the existence of warm, dusty debris disks surrounding about four per cent of white dwarfs, suggests that rocky debris from the planetary systems of white-dwarf progenitors occasionally pollutes the atmospheres of the stars. The total accreted mass of this debris is sometimes comparable to the mass of large asteroids in the Solar System. However, rocky, disintegrating bodies around a white dwarf have not yet been observed. Here we report observations of a white dwarf--WD 1145+017--being transited by at least one, and probably several, disintegrating planetesimals, with periods ranging from 4.5 hours to 4.9 hours. The strongest transit signals occur every 4.5 hours and exhibit varying depths (blocking up to 40 per cent of the star's brightness) and asymmetric profiles, indicative of a small object with a cometary tail of dusty effluent material. The star has a dusty debris disk, and the star's spectrum shows prominent lines from heavy elements such as magnesium, aluminium, silicon, calcium, iron, and nickel. This system provides further evidence that the pollution of white dwarfs by heavy elements might originate from disrupted rocky bodies such as asteroids and minor planets.

  1. A disintegrating minor planet transiting a white dwarf.

    Vanderburg, Andrew; Johnson, John Asher; Rappaport, Saul; Bieryla, Allyson; Irwin, Jonathan; Lewis, John Arban; Kipping, David; Brown, Warren R; Dufour, Patrick; Ciardi, David R; Angus, Ruth; Schaefer, Laura; Latham, David W; Charbonneau, David; Beichman, Charles; Eastman, Jason; McCrady, Nate; Wittenmyer, Robert A; Wright, Jason T

    2015-10-22

    Most stars become white dwarfs after they have exhausted their nuclear fuel (the Sun will be one such). Between one-quarter and one-half of white dwarfs have elements heavier than helium in their atmospheres, even though these elements ought to sink rapidly into the stellar interiors (unless they are occasionally replenished). The abundance ratios of heavy elements in the atmospheres of white dwarfs are similar to the ratios in rocky bodies in the Solar System. This fact, together with the existence of warm, dusty debris disks surrounding about four per cent of white dwarfs, suggests that rocky debris from the planetary systems of white-dwarf progenitors occasionally pollutes the atmospheres of the stars. The total accreted mass of this debris is sometimes comparable to the mass of large asteroids in the Solar System. However, rocky, disintegrating bodies around a white dwarf have not yet been observed. Here we report observations of a white dwarf--WD 1145+017--being transited by at least one, and probably several, disintegrating planetesimals, with periods ranging from 4.5 hours to 4.9 hours. The strongest transit signals occur every 4.5 hours and exhibit varying depths (blocking up to 40 per cent of the star's brightness) and asymmetric profiles, indicative of a small object with a cometary tail of dusty effluent material. The star has a dusty debris disk, and the star's spectrum shows prominent lines from heavy elements such as magnesium, aluminium, silicon, calcium, iron, and nickel. This system provides further evidence that the pollution of white dwarfs by heavy elements might originate from disrupted rocky bodies such as asteroids and minor planets. PMID:26490620

  2. Merging White Dwarfs and Thermonuclear Supernovae

    van Kerkwijk, Marten H.

    2012-01-01

    Thermonuclear supernovae result when interaction with a companion reignites nuclear fusion in a carbon-oxygen white dwarf, causing a thermonuclear runaway, a catastrophic gain in pressure, and the disintegration of the whole white dwarf. It is usually thought that fusion is reignited in near-pycnonuclear conditions when the white dwarf approaches the Chandrasekhar mass. I briefly describe two long-standing problems faced by this scenario, and our suggestion that these supernovae instead resul...

  3. Magnetic white dwarfs with debris disks

    Külebi, Baybars; Ekşi, K. Yavuz; Lorén-Aguilar, Pablo; Isern, Jordi; García-Berro, Enrique

    2012-01-01

    It has long been accepted that a possible mechanism for explaining the existence of magnetic white dwarfs is the merger of a binary white dwarf system, as there are viable mechanisms for producing sustainable magnetism within the merger product. However, the lack of rapid rotators in the magnetic white dwarf population has been always considered a problematic issue of this scenario. In order to explain this discrepancy we build a model in which the interaction between the magnetosphere of the...

  4. The space distribution of DA white dwarfs

    We present a determination of the scaleheight and luminosity function of DA white dwarfs based on a new sample of 41 faint (B0=275±50 pc. Assuming such a scaleheight, the local luminosity function derived for the AAT sample shows good agreement with that obtained previously for the Palomar Green DA white dwarf sample, particularly in the overall normalization of the luminosity function. We derive a value for the local space density of DA white dwarfs with Mv3. (author)

  5. Rare White dwarf stars with carbon atmospheres

    Dufour, P.; Liebert, James; Fontaine, G.; Behara, N.

    2007-01-01

    White dwarfs represent the endpoint of stellar evolution for stars with initial masses between approximately 0.07 msun and 8-10 msun, where msun is the mass of the Sun (more massive stars end their life as either black holes or neutron stars). The theory of stellar evolution predicts that the majority of white dwarfs have a core made of carbon and oxygen, which itself is surrounded by a helium layer and, for ~80 per cent of known white dwarfs, by an additional hydrogen layer. All white dwarfs...

  6. Time dependent white dwarf radiative shocks

    We study the oscillatory instability of white dwarf radiative accretion shocks discovered by Langer, Chanmugam, and Shaviv. We extend previous works by examining spherical shocks dominated by: (1) bremsstrahlung and Compton cooling; and (2) bremsstrahlung and Compton cooling when the effects of electron thermal conduction are not negligible. The results of our calculations allow us to delineate stability regimes as a function of the dwarf mass, M/sub d/, and the accretion rate, M0. We parameterize M0 in terms of the optical depth to electron scattering through the preshock flow, tau/sub es/. In the Compton cooling and bremsstrahlung case, the shocks are unstable to low order oscillation modes if M/sub d/ less than or equal to (0.7 +- 0.1) M/sub solar/ for tau/sub es/ = 14, and if M/sub d/ less than or equal to (0.9 +- 0.1) M/sub solar/ for tau/sub es/ = 1. When electron thermal conduction is added, low order oscillation modes are unstable only if M/sub d/ less than or equal to (0.3 +- 0.1) M/sub sun mass/. The unstable modes have approximate oscillation periods of 1.1 tau/sub br/ and 0.63 tau/sub br/, where tau/sub br/ is the bremsstrahlung cooling time scale of the postshock plasma. Our results can be scaled to magnetically funneled accretion flows as long as cyclotron emission contributes less than about 10% of the postshock cooling. 14 refs., 1 fig

  7. New mass limit of white dwarfs

    Das, Upasana

    2013-01-01

    Is the Chandrasekhar mass limit for white dwarfs (WDs) set in stone? Not anymore -- recent observations of over-luminous, peculiar type Ia supernovae can be explained if significantly super-Chandrasekhar WDs exist as their progenitors, thus barring them to be used as cosmic distance indicators. However, there is no estimate of a mass limit for these super-Chandrasekhar WD candidates yet. Can they be arbitrarily large? In fact, the answer is no! We arrive at this revelation by exploiting the flux freezing theorem in observed, accreting, magnetized WDs, which brings in Landau quantization of the underlying electron degenerate gas. This essay presents the calculations which pave the way for the ultimate (significantly super-Chandrasekhar) mass limit of WDs, heralding a paradigm shift 80 years after Chandrasekhar's discovery.

  8. Liberating exomoons in white dwarf planetary systems

    Payne, Matthew J; Holman, Matthew J; Gaensicke, Boris T

    2016-01-01

    Previous studies indicate that more than a quarter of all white dwarf (WD) atmospheres are polluted by remnant planetary material, with some WDs being observed to accrete the mass of Pluto in 10^6 years. The short sinking timescale for the pollutants indicate that the material must be frequently replenished. Moons may contribute decisively to this pollution process if they are liberated from their parent planets during the post-main-sequence evolution of the planetary systems. Here, we demonstrate that gravitational scattering events among planets in WD systems easily triggers moon ejection. Repeated close encounters within tenths of a planetary Hill radii are highly destructive to even the most massive, close-in moons. Consequently, scattering increases both the frequency of perturbing agents in WD systems, as well as the available mass of polluting material in those systems, thereby enhancing opportunities for collision and fragmentation and providing more dynamical pathways for smaller bodies to reach the ...

  9. White Dwarf Critical Tests for Modified Gravity

    Jain, Rajeev Kumar; Kouvaris, Chris; Nielsen, Niklas Grønlund

    2016-04-01

    Scalar-tensor theories of gravity can lead to modifications of the gravitational force inside astrophysical objects. We exhibit that compact stars such as white dwarfs provide a unique setup to test beyond Horndeski theories of G3 type. We obtain stringent and independent constraints on the parameter ϒ characterizing the deviations from Newtonian gravity using the mass-radius relation, the Chandrasekhar mass limit, and the maximal rotational frequency of white dwarfs. We find that white dwarfs impose stronger constraints on ϒ than red and brown dwarfs.

  10. White Dwarf Critical Tests for Modified Gravity

    Jain, Rajeev Kumar; Nielsen, Niklas Grønlund

    2015-01-01

    Scalar-tensor theories of gravity can lead to modifications of the gravitational force inside astrophysical objects. We exhibit that compact stars such as white dwarfs provide a unique set-up to test such deviations from Newtonian gravitational physics inside the stars. We obtain stringent and independent constraints on the parameter $\\Upsilon$ characterizing the deviations from gravity using the mass-radius relation, the Chandrasekhar mass limit and the maximal rotational frequency of white dwarfs. We find that white dwarfs impose stronger constraints on $\\Upsilon$ than the red and brown dwarfs.

  11. White Dwarf Critical Tests for Modified Gravity.

    Jain, Rajeev Kumar; Kouvaris, Chris; Nielsen, Niklas Grønlund

    2016-04-15

    Scalar-tensor theories of gravity can lead to modifications of the gravitational force inside astrophysical objects. We exhibit that compact stars such as white dwarfs provide a unique setup to test beyond Horndeski theories of G^{3} type. We obtain stringent and independent constraints on the parameter ϒ characterizing the deviations from Newtonian gravity using the mass-radius relation, the Chandrasekhar mass limit, and the maximal rotational frequency of white dwarfs. We find that white dwarfs impose stronger constraints on ϒ than red and brown dwarfs. PMID:27127952

  12. Disks and Planets Around Massive White Dwarfs

    Livio, M.; Pringle, J. E.; Wood, K.

    2005-01-01

    We predict the existence of dusty disks and possibly CO planets around massive white dwarfs. We show that the thermal emission from these disks should be detectable in the infrared. The planets may also be detectable either by direct IR imaging, spectroscopy, or using the pulsations of the white dwarfs.

  13. Population synthesis for symbiotic stars with white dwarf accretors

    Lu, G; Han, Z; Lu, Guoliang; Yungelson, Lev; Han, Zhanwen

    2006-01-01

    We have carried out a detailed study of symbiotic stars with white dwarf accretors by means of a population synthesis code. We estimate the total number of symbiotic stars with white dwarf accretors in the Galaxy as 1,200 - 15,000. This range is compatible with observational estimates. Two crucial physical parameters that define the birthrate and number of symbiotic stars are the efficiency of accretion by white dwarfs (which greatly depends on the separation of components after common envelope stage and stellar wind velocity) and the mass of the hydrogen layer which the white dwarf can accumulate prior to the hydrogen ignition. The theoretical estimate of the Galactic occurrence rate of symbiotic novae ranges from about 1.3 to about 13.5 per year out of which weak symbiotic novae comprise about 0.5 to 6.0 per year, depending on the model assumptions. We simulate the distributions of symbiotic stars over orbital periods, masses of components, mass-loss rates of cool components, mass-accretion rates of hot com...

  14. Observational properties of magnetic white dwarfs

    Ferrario, Lilia

    2016-01-01

    There are no known examples of magnetic white dwarfs with fields larger than about 3MG paired with a non-degenerate companion in detached binary systems. The suggestion is that highly magnetic, isolated white dwarfs may originate from stars that coalesce during common envelope evolution while those stars that emerge from a common envelope on a close orbit may evolve into double degenerate systems consisting of two white dwarfs, one or both magnetic. The presence of planets or planetary debris around white dwarfs is also a new and exciting area of research that may give us important clues on the formation of first and second generation planetary systems, since these place unique signatures in the spectra of white dwarfs.

  15. A white dwarf with an oxygen atmosphere

    Kepler, S. O.; Koester, Detlev; Ourique, Gustavo

    2016-04-01

    Stars born with masses below around 10 solar masses end their lives as white dwarf stars. Their atmospheres are dominated by the lightest elements because gravitational diffusion brings the lightest element to the surface. We report the discovery of a white dwarf with an atmosphere completely dominated by oxygen, SDSS J124043.01+671034.68. After oxygen, the next most abundant elements in its atmosphere are neon and magnesium, but these are lower by a factor of ≥25 by number. The fact that no hydrogen or helium are observed is surprising. Oxygen, neon, and magnesium are the products of carbon burning, which occurs in stars at the high-mass end of pre-white dwarf formation. This star, a possible oxygen-neon white dwarf, will provide a rare observational test of the evolutionary paths toward white dwarfs.

  16. A white dwarf with an oxygen atmosphere.

    Kepler, S O; Koester, Detlev; Ourique, Gustavo

    2016-04-01

    Stars born with masses below around 10 solar masses end their lives as white dwarf stars. Their atmospheres are dominated by the lightest elements because gravitational diffusion brings the lightest element to the surface. We report the discovery of a white dwarf with an atmosphere completely dominated by oxygen, SDSS J124043.01+671034.68. After oxygen, the next most abundant elements in its atmosphere are neon and magnesium, but these are lower by a factor of ≥25 by number. The fact that no hydrogen or helium are observed is surprising. Oxygen, neon, and magnesium are the products of carbon burning, which occurs in stars at the high-mass end of pre-white dwarf formation. This star, a possible oxygen-neon white dwarf, will provide a rare observational test of the evolutionary paths toward white dwarfs. PMID:27034367

  17. Models for Type I supernovae - Partially incinerated white dwarfs

    Sutherland, P. G.; Wheeler, J. C.

    1984-05-01

    White dwarf models are calculated for the explosions and light curves of Type I supernovae using full hydrodynamics and radiative diffusion. Comparison is made to recent observations. The models are based on the instantaneous thermonuclear burning of part or all of a degenerate carbon/oxygen/helium core. The Rayleigh-Taylor instability at the points of density/composition discontinuity is explored. The effects of radioactive decay of 56Ni and 56Co are incorporated by means of an absorption treatment of γ-rays. It is concluded that despite the qualitative appeal of the picture in which binary mass accretion raises a carbon-oxygen white dwarf to the Chandrasekhar limit, the demand to produce supernovae of the observed characteristics is not easily reconciled quantitatively with current calculations of hydrogen accretion.

  18. Dyson Spheres around White Dwarfs

    Semiz, İbrahim

    2015-01-01

    A Dyson Sphere is a hypothetical structure that an advanced civilization might build around a star to intercept all of the star's light for its energy needs. One usually thinks of it as a spherical shell about one astronomical unit (AU) in radius, and surrounding a more or less Sun-like star; and might be detectable as an infrared point source. We point out that Dyson Spheres could also be built around white dwarfs. This type would avoid the need for artificial gravity technology, in contrast to the AU-scale Dyson Spheres. In fact, we show that parameters can be found to build Dyson Spheres suitable --temperature- and gravity-wise-- for human habitation. This type would be much harder to detect.

  19. Metal Abundances in Hot DO White Dwarfs

    Werner, K; Ringat, E; Kruk, J W

    2012-01-01

    The relatively high abundance of carbon in the hot DO white dwarf RE0503-289 indicates that it is a descendant of a PG1159 star. This is corroborated by the recent detection of the extremely high abundances of trans-Fe elements which stem from s-process nucleosynthesis in the precursor AGB star, dredged up by a late He-shell flash and possibly amplified by radiative levitation. On the other hand, the hottest known DO white dwarf, KPD0005+5106, cannot have evolved from a PG1159 star but represents a distinct He-rich evolutionary sequence that possibly originates from a binary white dwarf merger.

  20. Merging white dwarfs and thermonuclear supernovae.

    van Kerkwijk, M H

    2013-06-13

    Thermonuclear supernovae result when interaction with a companion reignites nuclear fusion in a carbon-oxygen white dwarf, causing a thermonuclear runaway, a catastrophic gain in pressure and the disintegration of the whole white dwarf. It is usually thought that fusion is reignited in near-pycnonuclear conditions when the white dwarf approaches the Chandrasekhar mass. I briefly describe two long-standing problems faced by this scenario, and the suggestion that these supernovae instead result from mergers of carbon-oxygen white dwarfs, including those that produce sub-Chandrasekhar-mass remnants. I then turn to possible observational tests, in particular, those that test the absence or presence of electron captures during the burning. PMID:23630372

  1. Merging White Dwarfs and Thermonuclear Supernovae

    van Kerkwijk, Marten H

    2012-01-01

    Thermonuclear supernovae result when interaction with a companion reignites nuclear fusion in a carbon-oxygen white dwarf, causing a thermonuclear runaway, a catastrophic gain in pressure, and the disintegration of the whole white dwarf. It is usually thought that fusion is reignited in near-pycnonuclear conditions when the white dwarf approaches the Chandrasekhar mass. I briefly describe two long-standing problems faced by this scenario, and our suggestion that these supernovae instead result from mergers of carbon-oxygen white dwarfs, including those that produce sub-Chandrasekhar mass remnants. I then turn to possible observational tests, in particular those that test the absence or presence of electron captures during the burning.

  2. Pulsating White Dwarf Stars and Precision Asteroseismology

    Winget, D E

    2008-01-01

    Galactic history is written in the white dwarf stars. Their surface properties hint at interiors composed of matter under extreme conditions. In the forty years since their discovery, pulsating white dwarf stars have moved from side-show curiosities to center stage as important tools for unraveling the deep mysteries of the Universe. Innovative observational techniques and theoretical modeling tools have breathed life into precision asteroseismology. We are just learning to use this powerful tool, confronting theoretical models with observed frequencies and their time rate-of-change. With this tool, we calibrate white dwarf cosmochronology; we explore equations of state; we measure stellar masses, rotation rates, and nuclear reaction rates; we explore the physics of interior crystallization; we study the structure of the progenitors of Type Ia supernovae, and we test models of dark matter. The white dwarf pulsations are at once the heartbeat of galactic history and a window into unexplored and exotic physics.

  3. Magnetic white dwarfs with debris disks

    Külebi, Baybars; Lorén-Aguilar, Pablo; Isern, Jordi; García-Berro, Enrique

    2012-01-01

    It has long been accepted that a possible mechanism for explaining the existence of magnetic white dwarfs is the merger of a binary white dwarf system, as there are viable mechanisms for producing sustainable magnetism within the merger product. However, the lack of rapid rotators in the magnetic white dwarf population has been always considered a problematic issue of this scenario. In order to explain this discrepancy we build a model in which the interaction between the magnetosphere of the star and the disk induces angular momentum transfer. Our model predicts that the magnetospheric interaction of magnetic white dwarfs with their disks results in a significant spin down, and we show that the observed rotation period of REJ 0317-853, which is suggested to be a product of a double degenerate merger, can be reproduced.

  4. The Physics of crystallizing white dwarfs

    Isern, J.; Mochkovitch, R.; García--Berro, E.; Hernanz, Margarita

    1997-01-01

    White dwarfs can be used as galactic chronometers and, therefore, provide important information about galactic evolution if good theoretical models of their cooling are available. Consequently, it is natural to wonder if all the sources or sinks of energy are correctly taken into account. One of these sources is partial differentiation of the chemical components of the white dwarf upon crystallization. In this paper we use a new formalism to show that if there is a redistribution of the eleme...

  5. On the properties of discs around accreting brown dwarfs

    Mayne, Nathan

    2010-01-01

    We present a grid of models of accreting brown dwarf systems with circumstellar discs. The calculations involve a self-consistent solution of both vertical hydrostatic and radiative equilibrium along with a sophisticated treatment of dust sublimation. We have simulated observations of the spectral energy distributions and several broadband photometric systems. Analysis of the disc structures and simulated observations reveal a natural dichotomy in accretion rates, with \\logmdot $>-$9 and $\\leq -$9 classed as extreme and typical accretors respectively. Derivation of ages and masses from our simulated photometry using isochrones is demonstrated to be unreliable even for typical accretors. Although current brown dwarf disc candidate selection criteria have been shown to be largely reliable when applied to our model grid we suggest improved selection criteria in several colour indices. We show that as accretion rates increase brown dwarf disc systems are less likely to be correctly identified. This suggests that,...

  6. A radio pulsing white dwarf binary star

    Marsh, T R; Hümmerich, S; Hambsch, F -J; Bernhard, K; Lloyd, C; Breedt, E; Stanway, E R; Steeghs, D T; Parsons, S G; Toloza, O; Schreiber, M R; Jonker, P G; van Roestel, J; Kupfer, T; Pala, A F; Dhillon, V S; Hardy, L K; Littlefair, S P; Aungwerojwit, A; Arjyotha, S; Koester, D; Bochinski, J J; Haswell, C A; Frank, P; Wheatley, P J

    2016-01-01

    White dwarfs are compact stars, similar in size to Earth but ~200,000 times more massive. Isolated white dwarfs emit most of their power from ultraviolet to near-infrared wavelengths, but when in close orbits with less dense stars, white dwarfs can strip material from their companions, and the resulting mass transfer can generate atomic line and X-ray emission, as well as near- and mid-infrared radiation if the white dwarf is magnetic. However, even in binaries, white dwarfs are rarely detected at far-infrared or radio frequencies. Here we report the discovery of a white dwarf / cool star binary that emits from X-ray to radio wavelengths. The star, AR Scorpii (henceforth AR Sco), was classified in the early 1970s as a delta-Scuti star, a common variety of periodic variable star. Our observations reveal instead a 3.56 hr period close binary, pulsing in brightness on a period of 1.97 min. The pulses are so intense that AR Sco's optical flux can increase by a factor of four within 30 s, and they are detectable a...

  7. Massive Double White Dwarfs and the AM CVn Birthrate

    Kilic, Mukremin; Heinke, Craig O; Gianninas, A; Benni, P; Agueros, M A

    2016-01-01

    We present Chandra and Swift X-ray observations of four extremely low-mass (ELM) white dwarfs with massive companions. We place stringent limits on X-ray emission from all four systems, indicating that neutron star companions are extremely unlikely and that the companions are almost certainly white dwarfs. Given the observed orbital periods and radial velocity amplitudes, the total masses of these binaries are greater than 1.02 to 1.39 Msun. The extreme mass ratios between the two components make it unlikely that these binary white dwarfs will merge and explode as Type Ia or underluminous supernovae. Instead, they will likely go through stable mass transfer through an accretion disk and turn into interacting AM CVn. Along with three previously known systems, we identify two of our targets, J0811 and J2132, as systems that will definitely undergo stable mass transfer. In addition, we use the binary white dwarf sample from the ELM Survey to constrain the inspiral rate of systems with extreme mass ratios. This r...

  8. White dwarf stars with carbon atmospheres.

    Dufour, P; Liebert, J; Fontaine, G; Behara, N

    2007-11-22

    White dwarfs represent the endpoint of stellar evolution for stars with initial masses between approximately 0.07 and 8-10, where is the mass of the Sun (more massive stars end their life as either black holes or neutron stars). The theory of stellar evolution predicts that the majority of white dwarfs have a core made of carbon and oxygen, which itself is surrounded by a helium layer and, for approximately 80 per cent of known white dwarfs, by an additional hydrogen layer. All white dwarfs therefore have been traditionally found to belong to one of two categories: those with a hydrogen-rich atmosphere (the DA spectral type) and those with a helium-rich atmosphere (the non-DAs). Here we report the discovery of several white dwarfs with atmospheres primarily composed of carbon, with little or no trace of hydrogen or helium. Our analysis shows that the atmospheric parameters found for these stars do not fit satisfactorily in any of the currently known theories of post-asymptotic giant branch evolution, although these objects might be the cooler counterpart of the unique and extensively studied PG 1159 star H1504+65 (refs 4-7). These stars, together with H1504+65, might accordingly form a new evolutionary sequence that follows the asymptotic giant branch. PMID:18033290

  9. Gravitational Interactions of White Dwarf Double Stars

    McKeough, James; Robinson, Chloe; Ortiz, Bridget; Hira, Ajit

    2016-03-01

    In the light of the possible role of White Dwarf stars as progenitors of Type Ia supernovas, we present computational simulations of some astrophysical phenomena associated with a study of gravitationally-bound binary stars, composed of at least one white dwarf star. Of particular interest to astrophysicists are the conditions inside a white dwarf star in the time frame leading up to its explosive end as a Type Ia supernova, for an understanding of the massive stellar explosions. In addition, the studies of the evolution of white dwarfs could serve as promising probes of theories of gravitation. We developed FORTRAN computer programs to implement our models for white dwarfs and other stars. These codes allow for different sizes and masses of stars. Simulations were done in the mass interval from 0.1 to 2.5 solar masses. Our goal was to obtain both atmospheric and orbital parameters. The computational results thus obtained are compared with relevant observational data. The data are further analyzed to identify trends in terms of sizes and masses of stars. We will extend our computational studies to blue giant and red giant stars in the future. Funding from National Science Foundation.

  10. The Potential of White Dwarf Cosmochronology

    Fontaine, G.; Brassard, P.; Bergeron, P.

    2001-04-01

    In the light of recent significant progress on both the observational and theoretical fronts, we review the status of white dwarf stars as cosmochronometers. These objects represent the end products of stellar evolution for the vast majority of stars and, as such, can be used to constrain the ages of various populations of evolved stars in the Galaxy. For example, the oldest white dwarfs in the solar neighborhood (the remnants of the very first generation of intermediate-mass stars in the Galactic disk) are still visible and can be used, in conjunction with cooling theory, to estimate the age of the disk. More recent observations suggest the tantalizing possibility that a population of very old white dwarfs inhabits the Galactic halo. Such a population may contribute significantly to baryonic ``dark'' matter in the Milky Way and may be used to obtain an independent estimate of the age of the halo. In addition, white dwarf cosmochronology is likely to play a very significant role in the coming era of giant 8-10 m telescopes when faint white dwarf populations should be routinely discovered and studied in open and globular clusters. Based, in part, on the C. S. Beals Lecture presented by G. Fontaine at the Annual General Meeting of the Canadian Astronomical Society held in Vancouver (2000 May).

  11. Mystery of a Dimming White Dwarf

    Kohler, Susanna

    2015-12-01

    In the wake of the recent media attention over an enigmatic, dimming star, another intriguing object has been discovered: J1529+2928, a white dwarf that periodically dims. This mystery, however, may have a simple solution with interesting consequences for future surveys of white dwarfs.Unexpected VariabilityJ1529+2928 is an isolated white dwarf that appears to have a mass of slightly more than the Sun. But rather than radiating steadily, J1529+2928 dims once every 38 minutes almost as though it were being eclipsed.The team that discovered these variations, led by Mukremin Kilic (University of Oklahoma), used telescopes at the Apache Point Observatory and the McDonald Observatory to obtain follow-up photometric data of J1529+2928 spread across 66 days. The team also took spectra of the white dwarf with the Gemini North telescope.Kilic and collaborators then began, one by one, to rule out possible causes of this objects variability.Eliminating OptionsThe period of the variability is too long for J1529+2928 to be a pulsating white dwarf with luminosity variation caused by gravity-wave pulsations.The variability cant be due to an eclipse by a stellar or brown-dwarf companion, because there isnt any variation in J1529+2928s radial velocity.Its not due to the orbit of a solid-body planetary object; such a transit would be too short to explain observations.It cant be due to the orbit of a disintegrated planet; this wouldnt explain the light curves observed in different filters plus the light curve doesnt change over the 66-day span.Spotty SurfaceTop and middle two panels: light curves from three different nights observing J1529+2928s periodic dimming. Bottom panel: The Fourier transform shows a peak at 37.7 cycles/day (and another, smaller peak at its first harmonic). [Kilic et al. 2015]So what explanation is left? The authors suggest that J1529+2928s variability is likely caused by a starspot on the white dwarfs surface that rotates into and out of our view. Estimates

  12. Enigmas from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey DR7 Kleinman White Dwarf Catalog

    Liebert, James; Wickramasinghe, Dayal; Smith, Paul

    2015-01-01

    We report results from a continuation of our searches for high field magnetic white dwarfs paired in a detached binary with non degenerate companions. We made use of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey DR7 catalog of Kleinman et al. (2013) with 19,712 spectroscopically-identified white dwarfs. These include 1,735 white dwarf plus M dwarf detached pairs (almost 10\\% of the Kleinman at al.'s list). No new pairs were found, although we did recover the polar (AM~Herculis system) ST\\,LMi in a low state of accretion. With the larger sample the original situation reported ten years ago remains intact now at a much higher level of statistical significance: in the selected SDSS sample, high field magnetic white dwarfs are not found in an apparently-detached pairing with an M dwarf, unless they are a magnetic CV in a low state of accretion. This finding strengthens the case that the fields in the isolated high field magnetic white dwarfs are generated by stellar mergers but also raises questions on the nature of the progenito...

  13. Magnetic White Dwarf Stars in the SDSS

    Kepler, S O; Jordan, Stefan; Kleinman, Scot J; Kulebi, Baybars; Koester, Detlev; Peçanha, Viviane; Castanheira, Bárbara G; Nitta, Atsuko; Costa, José Eduardo da Silveira; Winget, Don Earl; Kanaan, Antonio; Fraga, Luciano

    2012-01-01

    To obtain a better statistics on the occurrence of magnetism among white dwarfs, we searched the spectra of the hydrogen atmosphere white dwarf stars (DAs) in the Data Release 7 of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) for Zeeman splittings and estimated the magnetic fields. We found 521 DAs with detectable Zeeman splittings, with fields in the range from around 1 MG to 733 MG, which amounts to 4% of all DAs observed. As the SDSS spectra have low signal-to-noise ratios, we carefully investigated by simulations with theoretical spectra how reliable our detection of magnetic field was.

  14. White dwarf atmospheres and circumstellar environments

    Hoard, Donald W

    2012-01-01

    Written by selected astronomers at the forefront of their fields, this timely and novel book compiles the latest results from research on white dwarf stars, complementing existing literature by focusing on fascinating new developments in our understanding of the atmospheric and circumstellar environments of these stellar remnants. Complete with a thorough refresher on the observational characteristics and physical basis for white dwarf classification, this is a must-have resource for researchers interested in the late stages of stellar evolution, circumstellar dust and nebulae, and the future

  15. FIRST DIRECT EVIDENCE THAT BARIUM DWARFS HAVE WHITE DWARF COMPANIONS

    Barium II (Ba) stars are chemically peculiar F-, G-, and K-type objects that show enhanced abundances of s-process elements. Since s-process nucleosynthesis is unlikely to take place in stars prior to the advanced asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stage, the prevailing hypothesis is that each present Ba star was contaminated by an AGB companion which is now a white dwarf (WD). Unless the initial mass ratio of such a binary was fairly close to unity, the receiving star is thus at least as likely to be a dwarf as a giant. So although most known Ba stars appear to be giants, the hypothesis requires that Ba dwarfs be comparably plentiful and moreover that they should all have WD companions. However, despite dedicated searches with the IUE satellite, no WD companions have been directly detected to date among the classical Ba dwarfs, even though some 90% of those stars are spectroscopic binaries, so the contamination hypothesis is therefore presently in some jeopardy. In this paper, we analyze recent deep, near-UV and far-UV Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) exposures of four of the brightest of the class (HD 2454, 15360, 26367, and 221531), together with archived GALEX data for two newly recognized Ba dwarfs: HD 34654 and HD 114520 (which also prove to be spectroscopic binaries). The GALEX observations of the Ba dwarfs as a group show a significant far-UV excess compared to a control sample of normal F-type dwarfs. We suggest that this ensemble far-UV excess constitutes the first direct evidence that Ba dwarfs have WD companions.

  16. Cool White Dwarfs in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

    Kilic, M; Harris, H C; Liebert, J; Von Hippel, T; Williams, K A; Metcalfe, T S; Winget, D E; Levine, S E; Kilic, Mukremin; Munn, Jeffrey A.; Harris, Hugh C.; Liebert, James; Hippel, Ted von; Williams, Kurtis A.; Metcalfe, Travis S.; Levine, Stephen E.

    2005-01-01

    A reduced proper motion diagram utilizing Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) photometry and astrometry and USNO-B plate astrometry is used to separate cool white dwarf candidates from metal-weak, high-velocity main sequence Population II stars (subdwarfs) in the SDSS Data Release 2 imaging area. Follow-up spectroscopy using the Hobby-Eberly Telescope, the MMT, and the McDonald 2.7m Telescope is used to demonstrate that the white dwarf and subdwarf loci separate cleanly in the reduced proper motion diagram, and that the contamination by subdwarfs is small near the cool white dwarf locus. This enables large statistically complete samples of white dwarfs, particularly the poorly understood cool white dwarfs, to be created from the SDSS imaging survey, with important implications for white dwarf luminosity function studies. SDSS photometry for our sample of cool white dwarfs is compared to current white dwarf models.

  17. SOAR + SMARTS Southern White Dwarf Survey

    Subasavage, John P.; Lepine, S.

    2012-01-01

    We present early results from the SOAR + SMARTS Southern White Dwarf SURVEY (SSSWDS). Our initial sift of relatively bright (15 < V < 18), white dwarf candidates uses the technique of reduced proper motion with inputs from the SUPERBLINK proper motion database combined with photographic magnitudes. Crude distance estimates from the linear photographic magnitude-color relation of Oppenheimer et al. 2001 are obtained and permit prioritized follow-up. For confirmation of luminosity class, we use the SOAR telescope atop Cerro Pachon equipped with the Goodman Spectrograph and a moderate resolution grating. In tandem, we acquire multi-epoch, optical Johnson-Kron-Cousins BVRI photometry using the SMARTS 1.0m telescope atop CTIO. Combined with JHK from 2MASS, we compare the photometric SED to relevant white dwarf model atmospheres to estimate physical parameters (e.g., effective temperature, mass) and distance. For the nearest targets, specifically those within the RECONS (www.recons.org) horizon of 25 pc, we aim to obtain trigonometric parallaxes as part of the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory Parallax Investigation (CTIOPI) project being conducted at the SMARTS 0.9m telescope. To date, we have confirmed 100 relatively bright, new white dwarfs in the southern hemisphere. Of those, 13 are estimated to be within our 25 pc horizon-of-interest, including two that are estimated to be within 15 pc. Ongoing observations will boost these figures by the end of the project.

  18. On The Evolution of Magnetic White Dwarfs

    Tremblay, P -E; Freytag, B; Steiner, O; Ludwig, H -G; Steffen, M; Wedemeyer, S; Brassard, P

    2015-01-01

    We present the first radiation magnetohydrodynamics simulations of the atmosphere of white dwarf stars. We demonstrate that convective energy transfer is seriously impeded by magnetic fields when the plasma-beta parameter, the thermal to magnetic pressure ratio, becomes smaller than unity. The critical field strength that inhibits convection in the photosphere of white dwarfs is in the range B = 1-50 kG, which is much smaller than the typical 1-1000 MG field strengths observed in magnetic white dwarfs, implying that these objects have radiative atmospheres. We have then employed evolutionary models to study the cooling process of high-field magnetic white dwarfs, where convection is entirely suppressed during the full evolution (B > 10 MG). We find that the inhibition of convection has no effect on cooling rates until the effective temperature (Teff) reaches a value of around 5500 K. In this regime, the standard convective sequences start to deviate from the ones without convection owing to the convective cou...

  19. SPIRAL INSTABILITY CAN DRIVE THERMONUCLEAR EXPLOSIONS IN BINARY WHITE DWARF MERGERS

    Kashyap, Rahul; Fisher, Robert [Department of Physics, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, 285 Old Westport Road, North Dartmouth, MA 02740 (United States); García-Berro, Enrique; Aznar-Siguán, Gabriela [Departament de Física Aplicada, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, c/Esteve Terrades, 5, E-08860 Castelldefels (Spain); Ji, Suoqing [Department of Physics, Broida Hall, University of California Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA 93106–9530 (United States); Lorén-Aguilar, Pablo [School of Physics, University of Exeter, Stocker Road, Exeter EX4 4QL (United Kingdom)

    2015-02-10

    Thermonuclear, or Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), originate from the explosion of carbon–oxygen white dwarfs, and serve as standardizable cosmological candles. However, despite their importance, the nature of the progenitor systems that give rise to SNe Ia has not been hitherto elucidated. Observational evidence favors the double-degenerate channel in which merging white dwarf binaries lead to SNe Ia. Furthermore, significant discrepancies exist between observations and theory, and to date, there has been no self-consistent merger model that yields a SNe Ia. Here we show that a spiral mode instability in the accretion disk formed during a binary white dwarf merger leads to a detonation on a dynamical timescale. This mechanism sheds light on how white dwarf mergers may frequently yield SNe Ia.

  20. Spiral Disk Instability Can Drive Thermonuclear Explosions in Binary White Dwarf Mergers

    Kashyap, Rahul; García-Berro, Enrique; Aznar-Siguán, Gabriela; Ji, Suoqing; Lorén-Aguilar, Pablo

    2015-01-01

    Thermonuclear, or Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia), originate from the explosion of carbon-oxygen white dwarfs, and serve as standardizable cosmological candles. However, despite their importance, the nature of the progenitor systems which give rise to SNe Ia has not been hitherto elucidated. Observational evidence favors the double-degenerate channel, in which merging white dwarf binaries lead to SNe Ia. Furthermore, significant discrepancies exist between observations and theory, and to date, there has been no self-consistent merger model which yields a SNe Ia. Here we show that a spiral mode instability in the accretion disk formed during a binary white dwarf merger leads to a detonation on a dynamical timescale. This mechanism sheds light on how white dwarf mergers may frequently yield SNe Ia.

  1. Radiative Levitation in Hot White Dwarfs

    Chayer, P.; Fontaine, G.; Wesemael, F.

    1994-12-01

    We present the results of detailed calculations of radiative levitation in hot white dwarfs using the extensive and homogeneous atomic data given in TOPBASE. Radiative accelerations and equilibrium abundances have been computed for C, N, O, Ne, Na, Mg, Al, Si, S, Ar, Ca, and Fe on grids of pure hydrogen and pure helium stellar envelope models. The DA model grid has log g = 7.0, 7.5, 8.0, and 8.5, and spans the range of effective temperature 100,000 >= Teff >= 20,000 K in steps of 2,500 K. The DO/DB grid is similar but extends to Teff = 130,000 K. We discuss at some length the input physics used in order to provide a good physical understanding of radiative levitation under white dwarf conditions. We also discuss the depth dependence and the morphology of the reservoirs of levitating elements created by an equilibrium between the radiative acceleration and the local effective gravity in various stellar envelopes. The important role played in the morphology of the reservoirs by dominant ionization states in closed-shell electronic configurations is emphasized. Our central results are presented in the form of figures showing the behavior of the expected photospheric abundance of each element as a function of effective temperature and surface gravity. While only a handful of abundances are available from the few analyses of observations that have been carried out, we are nevertheless able to infer through a detailed comparison that equilibrium radiative levitation theory fails to explain the observed abundance patterns of heavy elements in hot white dwarfs. At least one other mechanism must be competing with radiative levitation and gravitational settling in the atmospheres/envelopes of hot white dwarfs. Finally, we indicate promising avenues for further progress in spectral evolution theory for white dwarfs. This work has been supported by NASA contract NAS5-30180.

  2. On the Origin of Metals in Some Hot White Dwarf Photospheres

    Burleigh, M R; Farihi, J; Bannister, N P; Dickinson, N; Steele, P R; Dobbie, P D; Faedi, F; Gänsicke, B T

    2011-01-01

    We have searched for evidence for dust and gas disks at a sample of hot DA white dwarfs 20 000K < Teff < 50 000K, without success. Although their atmospheres are polluted with heavy elements, we cannot yet convincingly and conclusively show that any of these objects is accreting metals from surrounding material derived from disrupted minor planets in an old solar system.

  3. The White Dwarf Binary Pathways Survey I: A sample of FGK stars with white dwarf companions

    Parsons, S G; Schreiber, M R; Gansicke, B T; Zorotovic, M; Ren, J J

    2016-01-01

    The number of white dwarf plus main-sequence star binaries has increased rapidly in the last decade, jumping from only ~30 in 2003 to over 3000. However, in the majority of known systems the companion to the white dwarf is a low mass M dwarf, since these are relatively easy to identify from optical colours and spectra. White dwarfs with more massive FGK type companions have remained elusive due to the large difference in optical brightness between the two stars. In this paper we identify 934 main-sequence FGK stars from the Radial Velocity Experiment (RAVE) survey in the southern hemisphere and the Large Sky Area Multi-Object Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST) survey in the northern hemisphere, that show excess flux at ultraviolet wavelengths which we interpret as the likely presence of a white dwarf companion. We obtained Hubble Space Telescope ultraviolet spectra for nine systems which confirmed that the excess is indeed caused, in all cases, by a hot compact companion, eight being white dwarfs and one ...

  4. Infrared accretion disc mapping of the dwarf nova V2051 Ophiuchi in outburst and in quiescence

    Wojcikiewicz, E.; Baptista, R.

    2014-10-01

    Dwarf novae are compact binaries where a late-type star (the secondary) fills its Roche lobe and transfers matter to a companion white dwarf (the primary) via an accretion disc. They show outbursts which recur on timescales of weeks to years, where the accretion disc brightens by factors 20 to 100 either due to a thermal-viscous instability in the disc (DI model) or to a burst of enhanced mass-transfer from the secondary (MTI model). We report time-series of fast photometry of the dwarf nova V2051 Oph in the J and H bands, obtained with the CAMIV at the 1.6 m telescope of Observatório Pico dos Dias/Brazil, during the decline of an outburst in 2005 June, and in 2008 when the object was in quiescence. We modeled the ellipsoidal variations caused by the secondary to infer its contribution to the J and H fluxes, and fitted stellar atmosphere models to find a photometric parallatic distance of d = (111± 14)pc. Front-back brightness asymmetries in J and H-band eclipse maps along the decline from the 2005 outburst suggest that the accretion disc had a non-negligible opening angle which decreased as the disc cooled down. The time evolution of the disc radial temperature distribution along the outburst decline shows a cooling wave which accelerates as is travels inwards - in contradiction to a basic prediction from the DI model.

  5. Lessons for Asteroseismology from White Dwarf Stars

    Travis S. Metcalfe

    2005-06-01

    The interpretation of pulsation data for sun-like stars is currently facing challenges quite similar to those faced by white dwarf modelers ten years ago. The observational requirements for uninterrupted long-term monitoring are beginning to be satisfied by successful multi-site campaigns and dedicated satellite missions. But exploration of the most important physical parameters in theoretical models has been fairly limited, making it difficult to establish a detailed best-fit model for a particular set of oscillation frequencies. I review the past development and the current state of white dwarf asteroseismology, with an emphasis on what this can tell us about the road to success for asteroseismology of other types of stars.

  6. The SDSS White Dwarf - M Star Library

    Heller, René; Østensen, Roy H

    2011-01-01

    The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), originally targeted at quasi-stellar objects, has provided us with a wealth of astronomical byproducts through the last decade. Since then, the number of white dwarfs (WDs) with physically bound main-sequence star companions (mostly dM stars) has increased radically, allowing for fundamentally new insights into stellar physics. Different methods for the retrieval and follow-up analysis of SDSS WD-dM binaries have been applied in the literature, leading to a rising number of WD-dM catalogs. Here we present a detailed literature search, coupled with our own hunting for SDSS WD-dMs by color selection, the outcome being named the "SDSS White Dwarf - M Star Library". We also explain improvements of our automated spectral analysis method.

  7. The Field White Dwarf Mass Distribution

    Tremblay, P -E; Kalirai, J S; Gaensicke, B T; Gentile-Fusillo, N; Raddi, R

    2016-01-01

    We revisit the properties and astrophysical implications of the field white dwarf mass distribution in preparation of Gaia applications. Our study is based on the two samples with the best established completeness and most precise atmospheric parameters, the volume-complete survey within 20 pc and the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) magnitude-limited sample. We explore the modelling of the observed mass distributions with Monte Carlo simulations, but find that it is difficult to constrain independently the initial mass function (IMF), the initial-to-final-mass relation (IFMR), the stellar formation history (SFH), the variation of the Galactic disk vertical scale height as a function of stellar age, and binary evolution. Each of these input ingredients has a moderate effect on the predicted mass distributions, and we must also take into account biases owing to unidentified faint objects (20 pc sample), as well as unknown masses for magnetic white dwarfs and spectroscopic calibration issues (SDSS sample). Never...

  8. Limits on Planets Around White Dwarf Stars

    Mullally, F; Degennaro, Steven; Jeffery, Elizabeth; Thompson, S E; Chandler, Dean

    2008-01-01

    We present limits on planetary companions to pulsating white dwarf stars. A subset of these stars exhibit extreme stability in the period and phase of some of their pulsation modes; a planet can be detected around such a star by searching for periodic variations in the arrival time of these pulsations. We present limits on companions greater than a few Jupiter masses around a sample of 15 white dwarf stars as part of an on-going survey. One star shows a variation in arrival time consistent with a 2 M_J planet in a 4.5 year orbit. We discuss other possible explanations for the observed signal and conclude that a planet is the most plausible explanation based on the data available.

  9. Thermonuclear detonations ensuing white dwarf mergers

    Dan, Marius; Guillochon, James; Brüggen, Marcus; Ramirez-Ruiz, Enrico; Rosswog, Stephan

    2015-01-01

    The merger of two white dwarfs (WDs) has for many years not been considered as the favoured model for the progenitor system of type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia). But recent years have seen a change of opinion as a number of studies, both observational and theoretical, have concluded that they should contribute significantly to the observed type Ia supernova rate. In this paper, we study the ignition and propagation of detonation through post-merger remnants and we follow the resulting nucleosynthes...

  10. Unlocking the secrets of white dwarf stars

    Van Horn, Hugh M

    2015-01-01

    White dwarfs, each containing about as much mass as our Sun but packed into a volume about the size of Earth, are the endpoints of evolution for most stars. Thousands of these faint objects have now been discovered, though only a century ago only three were known. They are among the most common stars in the Milky Way Galaxy, and they have become important tools in understanding the universe. Yet a century ago only three white dwarfs were known.   The existence of these stars completely baffled the scientists of the day, and solving the mysteries of these strange objects required revolutionary advances in science and technology, including the development of quantum physics, the construction and utilization of large telescopes, the invention of the digital computer, and the ability to make astronomical observations from space.   This book tells the story of the growth in our understanding of white dwarf stars, set within the context of the relevant scientific and technological advances. Part popular science, ...

  11. White dwarf cosmochronology in the solar neighborhood

    The study of the stellar formation history in the solar neighborhood is a powerful technique to recover information about the early stages and evolution of the Milky Way. We present a new method that consists of directly probing the formation history from the nearby stellar remnants. We rely on the volume complete sample of white dwarfs within 20 pc, where accurate cooling ages and masses have been determined. The well characterized initial-final mass relation is employed in order to recover the initial masses (1 ≲ M initial/M ☉ ≲ 8) and total ages for the local degenerate sample. We correct for moderate biases that are necessary to transform our results to a global stellar formation rate, which can be compared to similar studies based on the properties of main-sequence stars in the solar neighborhood. Our method provides precise formation rates for all ages except in very recent times, and the results suggest an enhanced formation rate for the solar neighborhood in the last 5 Gyr compared to the range 5 < Age (Gyr) < 10. Furthermore, the observed total age of ∼10 Gyr for the oldest white dwarfs in the local sample is consistent with the early seminal studies that have determined the age of the Galactic disk from stellar remnants. The main shortcoming of our study is the small size of the local white dwarf sample. However, the presented technique can be applied to larger samples in the future.

  12. Detonations in white dwarf dynamical interactions

    Aznar-Siguán, Gabriela; Lorén-Aguilar, Pablo; José, Jordi; Isern, Jordi

    2013-01-01

    In old, dense stellar systems collisions of white dwarfs are a rather frequent phenomenon. Here we present the results of a comprehensive set of Smoothed Particle Hydrodynamics simulations of close encounters of white dwarfs aimed to explore the outcome of the interaction and the nature of the final remnants for different initial conditions. Depending on the initial conditions and the white dwarf masses, three different outcomes are possible. Specifically, the outcome of the interaction can be either a direct or a lateral collision or the interaction can result in the formation of an eccentric binary system. In those cases in which a collision occurs, the infalling material is compressed and heated such that the physical conditions for a detonation may be reached during the most violent phases of the merger. While we find that detonations occur in a significant number of our simulations, in some of them the temperature increase in the shocked region rapidly lifts degeneracy, leading to the quenching of the bu...

  13. Discovery of a peculiar DQ white dwarf

    Carollo, D; Spagna, A; Smart, R L; Lattanzi, M G; McLean, B J; Pinfield, D J

    2002-01-01

    We report the discovery of a new carbon rich white dwarf that was identified during a proper motion survey for cool white dwarfs based on photographic material used for the construction of the Guide Star Catalog II. Its large proper motion (0.48 arcsec/yr) and faint apparent magnitude (V = 18.7) suggest a nearby object of low luminosity. A low-resolution spectrum taken with the William Herschel Telescope clearly shows strong C2 Deslandres-d'Azambuja and Swan bands, which identify the star as a DQ white dwarf. The strength of the Deslandres-d'Azambuja bands and the depression of the continuum in the Swan-band region are signs of enhanced carbon abundance for the given Teff. Comparison of our spectrophotometric data to published synthetic spectra suggests 6000 K < Teff < 8000 K although further analysis with specialized synthetic models appear necessary to derive both Teff and chemical composition. Finally, the range of spatial velocity estimated for this object makes it a likely member of the halo or thi...

  14. The 25 Parsec Local White Dwarf Population

    Oswalt, J B Holberg T D; McCook, G P

    2016-01-01

    We have extended our detailed survey of the local white dwarf population from 20 pc to 25 pc, effectively doubling the sample volume, which now includes 232 stars. In the process new stars within 20 pc have been added, a more uniform set of distance estimates as well as improved spectral and binary classifications are available. The present 25 pc sample is estimated to be about 68% complete (the corresponding 20 pc sample is now 86\\% complete). The space density of white dwarfs is unchanged at 4.8 \\pm 0.5 x 10^{-3} pc^{-3}. This new study includes a white dwarf mass distribution and luminosity function based on the 232 stars in the 25 pc sample. We find a significant excess of single stars over systems containing one or more companions (74\\% vs 26\\%). This suggests mechanisms that result in the loss of companions during binary system evolution. In addition this updated sample exhibits a pronounced deficiency of nearby Sirius-Like systems. Eleven such systems were found within the 20 pc volume vs, only one add...

  15. The Hyades Cluster: Identification of a Planetary System and Escaping White Dwarfs

    Zuckerman, B.; Xu, S.; Klein, B.; Jura, M.

    2013-06-01

    Recently, some hot DA-type white dwarfs have been proposed to plausibly be escaping members of the Hyades. We used hydrogen Balmer lines to measure the radial velocities of seven such stars and confirm that three, and perhaps two others, are/were indeed cluster members and one is not. The other candidate Hyad is strongly magnetic and its membership status remains uncertain. The photospheres of at least one quarter of field white dwarf stars are "polluted" by elements heavier than helium that have been accreted. These stars are orbited by extended planetary systems that contain both debris belts and major planets. We surveyed the seven classical single Hyades white dwarfs and the newly identified (escaping) Hyades white dwarfs and found calcium in the photosphere of LP 475-242 of type DBA (now DBAZ), thus implying the presence of an orbiting planetary system. The spectrum of white dwarf GD 31, which may be, but probably is not, an escaping member of the Hyades, displays calcium absorption lines; these originate either from the interstellar medium or, less likely, from a gaseous circumstellar disk. If GD 31 was once a Hyades member, then it would be the first identified white dwarf Hyad with a cooling age >340 Myr.

  16. Spectroscopic and photometric studies of white dwarfs in the Hyades

    Tremblay, P -E; Röser, S; Jordan, S; Ludwig, H -G; Goldman, B

    2012-01-01

    The Hyades cluster is known to harbour ten so-called classical white dwarf members. Numerous studies through the years have predicted that more than twice this amount of degenerate stars should be associated with the cluster. Using the PPMXL catalog of proper motions and positions, a recent study proposed 17 new white dwarf candidates. We review the membership of these candidates by using published spectroscopic and photometric observations, as well as by simulating the contamination from field white dwarfs. In addition to the ten classical Hyades white dwarfs, we find six white dwarfs that may be of Hyades origin and three more objects that have an uncertain membership status due to their unknown or imprecise atmospheric parameters. Among those, two to three are expected as field stars contamination. Accurate radial velocity measurements will confirm or reject the candidates. One consequence is that the longstanding problem that no white dwarf older than ~340 Myr appears to be associated with the cluster rem...

  17. The WFCAM transit survey and cool white dwarfs

    Pinfield D.

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available We present results from our search for cool white dwarfs in the WTS (WFCAM Transit Survey. Repeat observations starting in 2007 allowed to produce deep stacked images in J and measure proper motions. We combine this with deep optical imaging to select cool white dwarf candidates (Teff < 5000 K. About 27 cool white dwarf candidates with proper motions above 0.10 arcsec/yr were identified in one of the fields representing 1/8th of the survey area. Follow-up spectroscopy with the 10.2 m GTC telescope at La Palma confirmed the white dwarf status for all observed candidates. On-going work is being carried out to increase the sample of cool white dwarfs that will allow a more comprehensive study of the thick disk/halo white dwarf population.

  18. Supernova SN 2011fe from an exploding carbon–oxygen white dwarf star

    Nugent, Peter E.; S. R. Kulkarni; Kasliwal, Mansi M.; Ofek, Eran O.

    2011-01-01

    Type Ia supernovae have been used empirically as ‘standard candles’ to demonstrate the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe even though fundamental details, such as the nature of their progenitor systems and how the stars explode, remain a mystery. There is consensus that a white dwarf star explodes after accreting matter in a binary system, but the secondary body could be anything from a main-sequence star to a red giant, or even another white dwarf. This uncertainty stems from the ...

  19. White Dwarf based evaluation of the GALEX absolute calibration

    Camarota, L; Holberg, J. B.

    2013-01-01

    This paper describes a revised photometric calibration of the \\emph{Galaxy Evolution Explorer} magnitudes, based on measurements of DA white dwarfs. The photometric magnitudes of white dwarfs measured by \\emph{GALEX} are compared to predicted magnitudes based on independent spectroscopic data (108 stars) and alternately to \\emph{IUE} UV fluxes of the white dwarfs (218 stars). The results demonstrate a significant non-linear correlation and small offset between archived \\emph{GALEX} fluxes and...

  20. Physical conditions inside white dwarfs and type I supernovae

    This paper discusses the role of the physical conditions inside a collapsing white dwarf, close to the instability limit, and considers briefly the present uncertainties concerning the exact physical conditions in a white dwarf. It is concluded that according to the chemical composition and even for fast cooling and solidification of a carbon-oxygen mixture, a solid white dwarf can collapse, following electron capture on oxygen. (Auth.)

  1. Chandra grating spectroscopy of three hot white dwarfs

    Adamczak, J.; Werner, K.; Rauch, T.; Schuh, S.; Drake, J. J.; Kruk, J. W.

    2012-01-01

    Context. High-resolution soft X-ray spectroscopic observations of single hot white dwarfs are scarce. With the Chandra Low-Energy Transmission Grating, we have observed two white dwarfs, one is of spectral type DA (LB1919) and the other is a non-DA of spectral type PG1159 (PG1520+525). The spectra of both stars are analyzed, together with an archival Chandra spectrum of another DA white dwarf (GD246). Aims. The soft X-ray spectra of the two DA white dwarfs are investigated in orde...

  2. Planetary engulfment as a trigger for white dwarf pollution

    Petrovich, Cristobal

    2016-01-01

    The presence of a planetary system can shield a planetesimal disk from the secular gravitational perturbations due to distant outer massive objects (planets or stellar companions). As the host star evolves off the main sequence to become a white dwarf, these planets can be engulfed, triggering secular instabilities and leading to the tidal disruptions of small rocky bodies. These disrupted bodies can feed the white dwarfs with rocky material and possibly explain the high-metallicity material in their atmospheres. We illustrate how this mechanism can operate when the gravitational perturbations are due to the Kozai-Lidov mechanism from a stellar binary companion. We show that this mechanism can explain the observed levels of accretion if: (1) the planetary engulfment happens fast compared to the secular timescale, which is generally the case for wide binaries ($>100$ AU) and planetary engulfment during the Asymptotic Giant Branch; (2) the planetesimal disk has a total mass of $\\sim10^{-4}-10^{-2}M_\\oplus$. We ...

  3. Explosion of white dwarfs harboring hybrid CONe cores

    Bravo, E; Gutiérrez, J L; Doherty, C L

    2016-01-01

    Recently, it has been found that off-centre carbon burning in a subset of intermediate-mass stars does not propagate all the way to the center, resulting in a class of hybrid CONe cores. Here, we consider the possibility that stars hosting these hybrid CONe cores might belong to a close binary system and, eventually, become white dwarfs accreting from a non-degenerate companion at rates leading to a supernova explosion. We have computed the hydrodynamical phase of the explosion of Chandrasekhar-mass white dwarfs harboring hybrid cores, assuming that the explosion starts at the center, either as a detonation (as may be expected in some degenerate merging scenarios) or as a deflagration (that afterwards transitions into a delayed detonation). We assume these hybrid cores are made of a central CO volume, of mass M(CO), surrounded by an ONe shell. We show that, in case of a pure detonation, a medium-sized CO-rich region, M(CO)<0.4 Msun, results in the ejection of a small fraction of the mantle while leaving a ...

  4. LOW MASS STELLAR AND SUBSTELLAR COMPANIONSHIP AMONG NEARBY WHITE DWARFS

    M. Radiszcz

    2009-01-01

    Full Text Available This work is a systematic, deep search for stellar and substellar objects orbiting nearby white dwarfs (WDs. The scienti c interest spans testing speci c predictions of common envelope evolutionary phase models, as well as providing constraints to planetary system evolution in advanced stages of its parent star (Livio & Soker 1984; Willes & Wu 2005. Additionally, we seek to explore the hypothesis about the origin of metal lines in hydrogen WDs, produced by the accretion of tidal disturbed asteroidal or cometary material. This could be linked to the presence of a undetected substellar object that perturbed the orbits of these asteroids or comets (Debes & Sigurdsson 2002. Here, we show preliminary results of this project.

  5. Dynamical Tides in Compact White Dwarf Binaries: Influence of Rotation

    Fuller, Jim

    2014-01-01

    Tidal interactions play an important role in the evolution and ultimate fate of compact white dwarf (WD) binaries. Not only do tides affect the pre-merger state (such as temperature and rotation rate) of the WDs, but they may also determine which systems merge and which undergo stable mass transfer. In this paper, we attempt to quantify the effects of rotation on tidal angular momentum transport in binary stars, with specific calculations applied to WD stellar models. We incorporate the effect of rotation using the traditional approximation, in which the dynamically excited gravity waves within the WDs are transformed into gravito-inertial Hough waves. The Coriolis force has only a minor effect on prograde gravity waves, and previous results predicting the tidal spin-up and heating of inspiraling WDs are not significantly modified. However, rotation strongly alters retrograde gravity waves and inertial waves, with important consequences for the tidal spin-down of accreting WDs. We identify new dynamical tidal...

  6. Atmospheric studies of C2 white dwarfs

    Swanson, S.R.

    1989-01-01

    Model atmosphere and line formation calculations for the delta nu = + 1 Swan bands of the C2 molecule are presented for seven white dwarfs and are compared to high resolution optical spectra. Limits on the C-12 to C-13 ratio are computed for highly pressure broadened lines and are used to analyze the observed spectra for any sign of absorption by the (C-12)(C-13) molecule. The metal abundances in cool white dwarf atmospheres and the usefulness of the determination of the C-12 to C-13 ratio are discussed. The line center shift and the pressure broadening are used to determine a value for the van der Waals interaction constant, C6. This is done using a detailed line modelling program which explicitly includes approximately 2000 rotational transition lines within the vibrational bands, in conjunction with atmospheric models calculated by the LUCIFER atmosphere modelling program. The isotopic shift of the vibrational and rotational lines is also included in the model to compare the detectability of various C-12 to C-13 ratios. The line models fit the observed spectra with varying degrees of accuracy. One star, WD0548-001, shows an unusually small pressure shift and broadening for the high pressures that the atmospheric model predicts. The results show that only in the hottest stars with the least pressure broadened lines in this study can the isotopic effect be seen. With the data available, the best limit on the C-12 to C-13 ratio is a minimum of 40 for WD0856 + 331. The models show that even for very high signal to noise data, the isotopic shift in the Swan bands in very cool white dwarfs would be difficult to separate from the pressure broadening effects. It is shown that the isotopic ratio is high enough to rule out the possibility that the carbon is a relic from previous CNO burning.

  7. Atmospheric studies of C2 white dwarfs

    Model atmosphere and line formation calculations for the delta nu = + 1 Swan bands of the C2 molecule are presented for seven white dwarfs and are compared to high resolution optical spectra. Limits on the C-12 to C-13 ratio are computed for highly pressure broadened lines and are used to analyze the observed spectra for any sign of absorption by the (C-12)(C-13) molecule. The metal abundances in cool white dwarf atmospheres and the usefulness of the determination of the C-12 to C-13 ratio are discussed. The line center shift and the pressure broadening are used to determine a value for the van der Waals interaction constant, C6. This is done using a detailed line modelling program which explicitly includes approximately 2000 rotational transition lines within the vibrational bands, in conjunction with atmospheric models calculated by the LUCIFER atmosphere modelling program. The isotopic shift of the vibrational and rotational lines is also included in the model to compare the detectability of various C-12 to C-13 ratios. The line models fit the observed spectra with varying degrees of accuracy. One star, WD0548-001, shows an unusually small pressure shift and broadening for the high pressures that the atmospheric model predicts. The results show that only in the hottest stars with the least pressure broadened lines in this study can the isotopic effect be seen. With the data available, the best limit on the C-12 to C-13 ratio is a minimum of 40 for WD0856 + 331. The models show that even for very high signal to noise data, the isotopic shift in the Swan bands in very cool white dwarfs would be difficult to separate from the pressure broadening effects. It is shown that the isotopic ratio is high enough to rule out the possibility that the carbon is a relic from previous CNO burning

  8. Single and multiple detonations in white dwarfs

    García Senz, Domingo; Bravo Guil, Eduardo; Woosley, S.

    1999-01-01

    A currently favored model for Type Ia supernovae consists of a carbon-oxygen (CO) white dwarf ( 0.6–1.0 M), surrounded by a thick layer of helium ( 0.2–0.3 M), which explodes as a consequence of successive detonations in the helium layer and the CO core. Previous studies, carried out in one and two dimensions, have shown that this model is capable of providing light curves and late-time spectra in agreement with observations, though the peak light spectrum may be problematic. These same studi...

  9. Search for Higgs shifts in white dwarfs

    Onofrio, Roberto

    2014-01-01

    We report on a search for differential shifts between electronic and vibronic transitions in carbon-rich white dwarfs BPM 27606 and Procyon B. The absence of differential shifts within the spectral resolution and taking into account systematic effects such as space motion and pressure shifts allows us to set the first upper bound of astrophysical origin on the coupling between the Higgs field and the Kreschmann curvature invariant. Our analysis provides the basis for a more general methodology to derive bounds to the coupling of long-range scalar fields to curvature invariants in an astrophysical setting complementary to the ones available from high-energy physics or table-top experiments.

  10. Search for Higgs shifts in white dwarfs

    Onofrio, Roberto [Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia " Galileo Galilei," Università di Padova, Via Marzolo 8, I-35131 Padova (Italy); Wegner, Gary A., E-mail: onofrior@gmail.com, E-mail: gary.a.wegner@dartmouth.edu [Department of Physics and Astronomy, Dartmouth College, 6127 Wilder Laboratory, Hanover, NH 03755 (United States)

    2014-08-20

    We report on a search for differential shifts between electronic and vibronic transitions in carbon-rich white dwarfs BPM 27606 and Procyon B. The absence of differential shifts within the spectral resolution and taking into account systematic effects such as space motion and pressure shifts allows us to set the first upper bound of astrophysical origin on the coupling between the Higgs field and the Kreschmann curvature invariant. Our analysis provides the basis for a more general methodology to derive bounds to the coupling of long-range scalar fields to curvature invariants in an astrophysical setting complementary to the ones available from high-energy physics or table-top experiments.

  11. Strengthening the Case for Asteroidal Accrection: Evidence for Subtle and Diverse Disks at White Dwarfs

    Farihi, J; Lee, J -E; Zuckerman, B

    2010-01-01

    Spitzer Space Telescope IRAC 3-8 micron and AKARI IRC 2-4 micron photometry are reported for ten white dwarfs with photospheric heavy elements; nine relatively cool stars with photospheric calcium, and one hotter star with a peculiar high carbon abundance. A substantial infrared excess is detected at HE 2221-1630, while modest excess emissions are identified at HE 0106-3253 and HE 0307+0746, implying these latter two stars have relatively narrow (Delta r < 0.1 Rsol) rings of circumstellar dust. A likely 7.9 micron excess is found at PG 1225-079 and may represent, together with G166-58, a sub-class of dust ring with a large inner hole. The existence of attenuated disks at white dwarfs substantiates the connection between their photospheric heavy elements and the accretion of disrupted minor planets, indicating many polluted white dwarfs may harbor orbiting dust, even those lacking an obvious infrared excess.

  12. Likely detection of water-rich asteroid debris in a metal-polluted white dwarf

    Raddi, R; Koester, D; Farihi, J; Hermes, J J; Scaringi, S; Breedt, E; Girven, J

    2015-01-01

    The cool white dwarf SDSS J124231.07+522626.6 exhibits photospheric absorption lines of 8 distinct heavy elements in medium resolution optical spectra, notably including oxygen. The Teff = 13000 K atmosphere is helium-dominated, but the convection zone contains significant amounts of hydrogen and oxygen. The four most common rock-forming elements (O, Mg, Si, and Fe) account for almost all the accreted mass, totalling at least 1.2e+24 g, similar to the mass of Ceres. The time-averaged accretion rate is 2e+10 g/s, one of the highest rates inferred among all known metal-polluted white dwarfs. We note a large oxygen excess, with respect to the most common metal oxides, suggesting that the white dwarf accreted planetary debris with a water content of ~38 per cent by mass. This star, together with GD 61, GD 16, and GD 362, form a small group of outliers from the known population of evolved planetary systems accreting predominantly dry, rocky debris. This result strengthens the hypothesis that, integrated over the c...

  13. White-dwarf-white-dwarf galactic background in the LISA data

    LISA (Laser Interferometer Space Antenna) is a proposed space mission, which will use coherent laser beams exchanged between three remote spacecraft to detect and study low-frequency cosmic gravitational radiation. In the low part of its frequency band, the LISA strain sensitivity will be dominated by the incoherent superposition of hundreds of millions of gravitational wave signals radiated by inspiraling white-dwarf binaries present in our own Galaxy. In order to estimate the magnitude of the LISA response to this background, we have simulated a synthesized population that recently appeared in the literature. Our approach relies on entirely analytic expressions of the LISA time-delay interferometric responses to the gravitational radiation emitted by such systems, which allows us to implement a computationally efficient and accurate simulation of the background in the LISA data. We find the amplitude of the galactic white-dwarf binary background in the LISA data to be modulated in time, reaching a minimum equal to about twice that of the LISA noise for a period of about two months around the time when the Sun-LISA direction is roughly oriented towards the Autumn equinox. This suggests that, during this time period, LISA could search for other gravitational wave signals incoming from directions that are away from the galactic plane. Since the galactic white-dwarf background will be observed by LISA not as a stationary but rather as a cyclostationary random process with a period of 1 yr, we summarize the theory of cyclostationary random processes, present the corresponding generalized spectral method needed to characterize such process, and make a comparison between our analytic results and those obtained by applying our method to the simulated data. We find that, by measuring the generalized spectral components of the white-dwarf background, LISA will be able to infer properties of the distribution of the white-dwarf binary systems present in our Galaxy

  14. Freak waves in white dwarfs and magnetars

    Sabry, R. [Theoretical Physics Group, Physics Department, Faculty of Science, Damietta University, New Damietta 34517 (Egypt); Department of Physics, College of Science and Humanitarian Studies, Salman bin Abdulaziz University, Alkharj (Saudi Arabia); International Centre for Advanced Studies in Physical Sciences, Faculty of Physics and Astronomy, Ruhr University Bochum, D-44780 Bochum (Germany); Moslem, W. M. [International Centre for Advanced Studies in Physical Sciences, Faculty of Physics and Astronomy, Ruhr University Bochum, D-44780 Bochum (Germany); Department of Physics, Faculty of Science, Port Said University, Port Said (Egypt); Centre for Theoretical Physics, The British University in Egypt (BUE), El-Shorouk City, Cairo (Egypt); Shukla, P. K. [International Centre for Advanced Studies in Physical Sciences, Faculty of Physics and Astronomy, Ruhr University Bochum, D-44780 Bochum (Germany); Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering and Center for Energy Research, University of California, San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093 (United States)

    2012-12-15

    We report properties of ion acoustic freak waves that propagate in a plasma composed of warm ions and ultrarelativistic electrons and positrons. The dynamics of the nonlinear freak waves is governed by the nonlinear Schroedinger equation. The possible region for the freak waves to exist is defined precisely for typical parameters of white dwarfs and magnetars corona. It is found that for low wave number, the nonlinear ion-acoustic wave packets are structurally stable in magnetars corona than in white dwarfs. However, for large wave numbers the situation is opposite. The critical wave number threshold (k{sub c}), which indicates where the modulational instability sets in, is defined for both applications. It is seen that near to k{sub c} the freak wave amplitude becomes high, but it decreases whenever we stepped away from k{sub c}. For the wave numbers close to k{sub c}, the increase of the unperturbed density ratio of positrons-to-electrons ({beta}) would lead to increase the freak wave amplitude, but for larger wave numbers the amplitude decreases with the increase of {beta}.

  15. A wide binary trigger for white dwarf pollution

    Bonsor, Amy

    2015-01-01

    Metal pollution in white dwarf atmospheres is likely to be a signature of remnant planetary systems. Most explanations for this pollution predict a sharp decrease in the number of polluted systems with white dwarf cooling age. Observations do not confirm this trend, and metal pollution in old (1-5 Gyr) white dwarfs is difficult to explain. We propose an alternative, time-independent mechanism to produce the white dwarf pollution. The orbit of a wide binary companion can be perturbed by Galactic tides, approaching close to the primary star for the first time after billions of years of evolution on the white dwarf branch. We show that such a close approach perturbs a planetary system orbiting the white dwarf, scattering planetesimals onto star-grazing orbits, in a manner that could pollute the white dwarf's atmosphere. Our estimates find that this mechanism is likely to contribute to metal pollution, alongside other mechanisms, in up to a few percent of an observed sample of white dwarfs with wide binary compan...

  16. Pure hydrogen atmosphere for very cool white dwarfs

    Saumon, D S

    1999-01-01

    Microlensing events observed in the line of sight toward the LMC indicate that a significant fraction of the mass of the dark halo of the Galaxy is probably composed of white dwarfs. In addition, white dwarf sequences have now be observed in the HR diagrams of several globular clusters. Because of the unavailability of white dwarf atmospheres for Teff < 4000K, cooling time scales for white dwarfs older than ~ 10 Gyr are very uncertain. Moreover, the identification of a MACHO white dwarf population by direct observation depends on a knowledge of the colors and bolometric corrections of very-cool white dwarfs. In this paper we present the first detailed model atmospheres and spectra of very cool hydrogen white dwarfs for Teff < 4000K. We include the latest description of the opacities of hydrogen and significantly, we introduce a non-ideal equation of state in the atmosphere calculation. We find that due to strong absorption from H_2 in the infrared, very old white dwarfs are brightest in the V, R, and I ...

  17. Remnant evolution after a carbon-oxygen white dwarf merger

    S.C. Yoon; P. Podsiadlowski; S. Rosswog

    2007-01-01

    We systematically explore the evolution of the merger of two carbon-oxygen (CO) white dwarfs. The dynamical evolution of a 0.9Msolar + 0.6Msolar CO white dwarf merger is followed by a 3D smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) simulation. The calculation uses a state-of-the-art e

  18. Radio emissions from terrestrial planets around white dwarfs

    Willes, A. J.; Wu, K.

    2005-03-01

    Terrestrial planets in close orbits around magnetic white dwarf stars are potential electron-cyclotron maser sources, by analogy to planetary radio emissions generated from the electrodynamic interaction between Jupiter and the Galilean moons. We present predictions of radio flux densities and the number of detectable white-dwarf/terrestrial-planet systems, and discuss a scenario for their formation.

  19. Constraining white dwarf structure and neutrino physics in 47 Tucanae

    Goldsbury, Ryan; Richer, Harvey; Kalirai, Jason; Tremblay, Pier-Emmanuel

    2016-01-01

    We present a robust statistical analysis of the white dwarf cooling sequence in 47 Tucanae. We combine HST UV and optical data in the core of the cluster, Modules for Experiments in Stellar Evolution (MESA) white dwarf cooling models, white dwarf atmosphere models, artificial star tests, and a Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) sampling method to fit white dwarf cooling models to our data directly. We use a technique known as the unbinned maximum likelihood to fit these models to our data without binning. We use these data to constrain neutrino production and the thickness of the hydrogen layer in these white dwarfs. The data prefer thicker hydrogen layers $(q_\\mathrm{H}=3.2\\e{-5})$ and we can strongly rule out thin layers $(q_\\mathrm{H}=10^{-6})$. The neutrino rates currently in the models are consistent with the data. This analysis does not provide a constraint on the number of neutrino species.

  20. Constraining White Dwarf Structure and Neutrino Physics in 47 Tucanae

    Goldsbury, R.; Heyl, J.; Richer, H. B.; Kalirai, J. S.; Tremblay, P. E.

    2016-04-01

    We present a robust statistical analysis of the white dwarf cooling sequence in 47 Tucanae. We combine Hubble Space Telescope UV and optical data in the core of the cluster, Modules for Experiments in Stellar Evolution (MESA) white dwarf cooling models, white dwarf atmosphere models, artificial star tests, and a Markov Chain Monte Carlo sampling method to fit white dwarf cooling models to our data directly. We use a technique known as the unbinned maximum likelihood to fit these models to our data without binning. We use these data to constrain neutrino production and the thickness of the hydrogen layer in these white dwarfs. The data prefer thicker hydrogen layers ({q}{{H}}=3.2× {10}-5) and we can strongly rule out thin layers ({q}{{H}}={10}-6). The neutrino rates currently in the models are consistent with the data. This analysis does not provide a constraint on the number of neutrino species.

  1. Post main sequence evolution of icy minor planets: Implications for water retention and white dwarf pollution

    Malamud, Uri

    2016-01-01

    Most observations of polluted white dwarf atmospheres are consistent with accretion of water depleted planetary material. Among tens of known cases, merely two cases involve accretion of objects that contain a considerable mass fraction of water. The purpose of this study is to investigate the relative scarcity of these detections. Based on a new and highly detailed model, we evaluate the retention of water inside icy minor planets during the high luminosity stellar evolution that follows the main sequence. Our model fully considers the thermal, physical, and chemical evolution of icy bodies, following their internal differentiation as well as water depletion, from the moment of their birth and through all stellar evolution phases preceding the formation of the white dwarf. We also account for different initial compositions and formation times. Our results show that previous studies have either underestimated or overestimated water retention. We also reaffirm that water can survive in a variety of circumstanc...

  2. Hubble Space Telescope observations of white dwarfs in detached binaries

    I describe three programs of Hubble Space Telescope (HST) observations of white dwarfs (WDs) in detached binaries. (1) I summarize the HST UV spectroscopy of the Hyades eclipsing binary V471 Tauri, containing a dK main-sequence star and a hot WD. By phasing time-resolved STIS spectra on the 9.25-min rotation period of the WD, we have shown that there are two opposite spots on the WD where there is magnetic accretion from the K star's wind. (2) Several programs of direct imaging and FGS astrometry are yielding high-precision visual orbits and dynamical masses, including the famous systems of Sirius and Procyon, as well as three fainter binaries in which both components are DC WDs. (3) Finally I discuss the bizarre nucleus of the low-surface-brightness planetary nebula EGB 6. The central star is associated with a compact emission-line nebula, which HST imaging shows is associated with a resolved dM companion. Why there should be a compact nebula around the cool star is puzzling; we speculate that it could be an accretion disk of material captured from the outflow that produced the surrounding faint PN. In a recent development, Spitzer has detected a 24 μm excess from EGB 6, indicating a dust component at a temperature of ∼260 K; the location of this dust relative to the hot and cool stars and the compact nebula remains uncertain at present.

  3. White dwarf pollution by planets in stellar binaries

    Hamers, Adrian S

    2016-01-01

    Approximately $0.2 \\pm 0.2$ of white dwarfs (WDs) show signs of pollution by metals, which is likely due to the accretion of tidally disrupted planetary material. Models invoking planet-planet interactions after WD formation generally cannot explain pollution at cooling times of several Gyr. We consider a scenario in which a planet is perturbed by Lidov-Kozai oscillations induced by a binary companion and exacerbated by stellar mass loss, explaining pollution at long cooling times. Our computed accretion rates are consistent with observations assuming planetary masses between $\\sim 0.01$ and $1\\,M_\\mathrm{Mars}$, although nongravitational effects may already be important for masses $\\lesssim 0.3 \\, M_\\mathrm{Mars}$. The fraction of polluted WDs in our simulations, $\\sim 0.05$, is consistent with observations of WDs with intermediate cooling times between $\\sim 0.1$ and 1 Gyr. For cooling times $\\lesssim 0.1$ Gyr and $\\gtrsim 1$ Gyr, our scenario cannot explain the high observed pollution fractions of up to 0....

  4. Tidal disruption of white dwarfs by intermediate mass black holes

    Bode T.

    2012-12-01

    Full Text Available Modeling ultra-close encounters between a white dwarf and a spinning, intermediate mass black hole requires a full general relativistic treatment of gravity. This paper summarizes results from such a study. Our results show that the disruption process and prompt accretion of the debris strongly depend on the magnitude and orientation of the black hole spin. On the other hand, the late-time accretion onto the black hole follows the same decay, Ṁ ∝  t−5/3, estimated from Newtonian gravity disruption studies. The spectrum of the fallback material peaks in the soft X-rays and sustains Eddington luminosity for 1–3 yrs after the disruption. The orientation of the black hole spin has also a profound effect on how the outflowing debris obscures the central region. The disruption produces a burst of gravitational radiation with characteristic frequencies of ∼3.2 Hz and strain amplitudes of ∼10−18 for galactic intermediate mass black holes.

  5. Supernovae from direct collisions of white dwarfs and the role of helium shell ignition

    Papish, Oded; Perets, Hagai B.

    2015-01-01

    Models for supernovae (SNe) arising from thermonuclear explosions of white dwarfs (WDs) have been extensively studied over the last few decades, mostly focusing on the single degenerate (accretion of material of a WD) and double degenerate (WD-WD merger) scenarios. In recent years it was suggested that WD-WD direct collisions provide an additional channel for such explosions. Here we extend the studies of such explosions, and explore the role of Helium-shells in affecting the thermonuclear ex...

  6. The Effects of Curvature and Expansion on Helium Detonations on White Dwarf Surfaces

    Moore, Kevin; Townsley, Dean; Bildsten, Lars

    2013-01-01

    Accreted helium layers on white dwarfs have been highlighted for many decades as a possible site for a detonation triggered by a thermonuclear runaway. In this paper, we find the minimum helium layer thickness that will sustain a steady laterally propagating detonation and show that it depends on the density and composition of the helium layer, specifically C12 and O16. Detonations in these thin helium layers have speeds slower than the Chapman-Jouget (CJ) speed from complete helium burning, ...

  7. Complexity and white-dwarf structure

    From the low-mass non-relativistic case to the extreme relativistic limit, the density profile of a white dwarf is used to evaluate the CLMC complexity measure [R. Lopez-Ruiz, H.L. Mancini, X. Calbet, Phys. Lett. A 209 (1995) 321]. Similarly to the recently reported atomic case where, by averaging shell effects, complexity grows with the atomic number [C.P. Panos, K.Ch. Chatzisavvas, Ch.C. Moustakidis, E.G. Kyrkou, Phys. Lett. A 363 (2007) 78; A. Borgoo, F. De Proft, P. Geerlings, K.D. Sen, Chem. Phys. Lett. 444 (2007) 186; J. Sanudo, R. Lopez-Ruiz, Int. Rev. Phys. 2 (2008) 223], here complexity grows as a function of the star mass reaching a maximum finite value in the Chandrasekhar limit

  8. Future Observations of White Dwarfs from Space

    Barstow, M. A.; Casewell, S. L.

    2015-06-01

    We outline two possible future space missions suitable for the study of white dwarfs. These lie at the extreme ends of the spectrum of such opportunities in terms of cost and timescale. The SIRIUS extreme ultraviolet spectrograph will be proposed for the ESA/Chinese Academy of Sciences small, ≍ 50M Euro, mission. If selected it will fly in 2021. ATLAST is planned to be a very large UVOIR space observatory to provide a true replacement for the capabilities of HST. If it goes ahead, it will be a several billion-dollar project and will not fly before 2030. The paper provides further details on the technical capabilities of these space telescopes.

  9. TIDAL NOVAE IN COMPACT BINARY WHITE DWARFS

    Compact binary white dwarfs (WDs) undergoing orbital decay due to gravitational radiation can experience significant tidal heating prior to merger. In these WDs, the dominant tidal effect involves the excitation of outgoing gravity waves in the inner stellar envelope and the dissipation of these waves in the outer envelope. As the binary orbit decays, the WDs are synchronized from outside in (with the envelope synchronized first, followed by the core). We examine the deposition of tidal heat in the envelope of a carbon-oxygen WD and study how such tidal heating affects the structure and evolution of the WD. We show that significant tidal heating can occur in the star's degenerate hydrogen layer. This layer heats up faster than it cools, triggering runaway nuclear fusion. Such 'tidal novae' may occur in all WD binaries containing a CO WD, at orbital periods between 5 minutes and 20 minutes, and precede the final merger by 105-106 years.

  10. Observational Constraints on the Origin of Metals in Cool DA-type White Dwarfs

    Chary, R R; Becklin, E E

    1998-01-01

    We present ISOCAM 7 micron and 15 micron observations of 12 nearby white dwarfs, 6 of which have been found to have metals such as Ca, Mg and Fe in their photospheres. Our purpose was to search for an excess of infrared emission above the stellar photospheres. We find that none of the white dwarfs other than G29-38 shows a detectable infrared excess and this places strong constraints on the existence of a dusty disk around these stars. We conclude that ongoing accretion of the interstellar medium seems an unlikely explanation for the existence of metals in the photospheres of cool hydrogen atmosphere white dwarfs. The excess associated with G29-38 is 3.8+/-1.0 mJy and 2.9+/-0.6 mJy at 7 micron and 15 micron respectively. The broadband spectrum of this star strengthens the hypothesis that the infrared excess arises from a disk of particulate matter surrounding the white dwarf rather than from a cool brown dwarf companion.

  11. Radiative Levitation of Silicon in the Atmospheres of Two Hyades DA White Dwarfs

    Chayer, P.

    2013-01-01

    The presence of silicon at the surface of the two Hyades DA white dwarfs WD 0421+162 and WD 0431+126 requires mechanisms that counteract the effects of the downward diffusion. Radiative levitation calculations indicate that the silicon abundance observed in WD 0431+126 corresponds to the abundance supported by radiative levitation. Detailed time-dependent diffusion calculations that take into account radiative levitation and accretion indicate that accretion with rates of dM/dt(Si) < 1.00E4 g...

  12. THREE NEW ECLIPSING WHITE-DWARF-M-DWARF BINARIES DISCOVERED IN A SEARCH FOR TRANSITING PLANETS AROUND M-DWARFS

    We present three new eclipsing white-dwarf/M-dwarf binary systems discovered during a search for transiting planets around M-dwarfs. Unlike most known eclipsing systems of this type, the optical and infrared emission is dominated by the M-dwarf components, and the systems have optical colors and discovery light curves consistent with being Jupiter-radius transiting planets around early M-dwarfs. We detail the PTF/M-dwarf transiting planet survey, part of the Palomar Transient Factory (PTF). We present a graphics processing unit (GPU)-based box-least-squares search for transits that runs approximately 8 × faster than similar algorithms implemented on general purpose systems. For the discovered systems, we decompose low-resolution spectra of the systems into white-dwarf and M-dwarf components, and use radial velocity measurements and cooling models to estimate masses and radii for the white dwarfs. The systems are compact, with periods between 0.35 and 0.45 days and semimajor axes of approximately 2 R☉ (0.01 AU). The M-dwarfs have masses of approximately 0.35 M☉, and the white dwarfs have hydrogen-rich atmospheres with temperatures of around 8000 K and have masses of approximately 0.5 M☉. We use the Robo-AO laser guide star adaptive optics system to tentatively identify one of the objects as a triple system. We also use high-cadence photometry to put an upper limit on the white-dwarf radius of 0.025 R☉ (95% confidence) in one of the systems. Accounting for our detection efficiency and geometric factors, we estimate that 0.08%-0.05%+0.10% (90% confidence) of M-dwarfs are in these short-period, post-common-envelope white-dwarf/M-dwarf binaries where the optical light is dominated by the M-dwarf. The lack of detections at shorter periods, despite near-100% detection efficiency for such systems, suggests that binaries including these relatively low-temperature white dwarfs are preferentially found at relatively large orbital radii. Similar eclipsing binary

  13. Isochrones and Luminosity Functions for Old White Dwarfs

    Richer, H B; Limongi, M; Chieffi, A; Straniero, O; Fahlman, G G; Richer, Harvey B.; Hansen, Brad; Limongi, Marco; Chieffi, Alessandro; Straniero, Oscar; Fahlman, Gregory G.

    1999-01-01

    Using a new grid of models of cooling white dwarfs, we calculate isochrones and luminosity functions in the Johnson-Kron/Cousins and HST filter sets for systems containing old white dwarfs. These new models incorporate a non-grey atmosphere which is necessary to properly describe the effects of molecular opacity at the cool temperatures of old white dwarfs. The various functions calculated and extensively tabulated and plotted are meant to be as utilitarian as possible for observers so all results are listed in quantities that observers will obtain. The tables and plots developed should eventually prove critical in interpreting the results of HST's Advanced Camera observations of the oldest white dwarfs in nearby globular clusters, in understanding the results of searches for old white dwarfs in the Galactic halo, and in determining ages for star clusters of all ages using white dwarfs. As a practical application we demonstrate the use of these results by deriving the white dwarf cooling age of the old Galact...

  14. Binary white dwarfs in the halo of the Milky Way

    van Oirschot, Pim; Toonen, Silvia; Pols, Onno; Brown, Anthony G A; Helmi, Amina; Zwart, Simon Portegies

    2014-01-01

    Aims: We study single and binary white dwarfs in the inner halo of the Milky Way in order to learn more about the conditions under which the population of halo stars was born, such as the initial mass function (IMF), the star formation history, or the binary fraction. Methods: We simulate the evolution of low-metallicity halo stars at distances up to ~ 3 kpc using the binary population synthesis code SeBa. We use two different white dwarf cooling models to predict the present-day luminosities of halo white dwarfs. We determine the white dwarf luminosity functions (WDLFs) for eight different halo models and compare these with the observed halo WDLF of white dwarfs in the SuperCOSMOS Sky Survey. Furthermore, we predict the properties of binary white dwarfs in the halo and determine the number of halo white dwarfs that is expected to be observed with the Gaia satellite. Results: By comparing the WDLFs, we find that a standard IMF matches the observations more accurately than a top-heavy one, but the difference w...

  15. A very Low-Luminosity, very cool DC White Dwarf

    Harris, H; Vrba, F J; Henden, A A; Liebert, J; Schmidt, G; Reid, N; Harris, Hugh; Dahn, Conard; Vrba, Frederick; Henden, Arne; Liebert, James; Schmidt, Gary; Reid, Neill

    1999-01-01

    The star LHS 3250 is found to be a white dwarf at a distance of 30 pc. Its absolute magnitudes (M_V = 15.72; M_bol = 16.2) put it among the least-luminous white dwarfs known. Its optical spectrum shows no features, indicating it has a DC classification, and it shows no detectable polarization, indicating it does not have a very strong magnetic field. However, its broadband colors show it to have a unique spectral energy distribution, and it stands out from all other stars in BVI and other broadband photometric surveys. We discuss these properties, and conclude that LHS 3250 must be an extremely cool white dwarf with strong collision-induced absorption at red-infrared wavelengths from molecular hydrogen, in accord with models for very cool white dwarf atmospheres. If so, it is the first such star known, and the first star to provide observational evidence supporting these models. It suggests that other very cool white dwarfs, both halo white dwarfs and the oldest disk white dwarfs, also may have colors affecte...

  16. White Dwarf/M Dwarf Binaries as Single Degenerate Progenitors of Type Ia Supernovae

    Wheeler, J Craig

    2012-01-01

    Limits on the companions of white dwarfs in the single degenerate scenario for the origin of Type Ia supernovae (SNIa) have gotten increasingly tight. The only type of non-degenerate stars that survive the limits on the companions of SNIa in SNR 0509-67.5 and SN1572 are M dwarfs. M dwarfs have special properties that have not been considered in most work on the progenitors of SNIa: they have small but finite magnetic fields, and they flare frequently. These properties are explored in the context of SNIa progenitors. White dwarf/M dwarf pairs may be sufficiently plentiful to provide an adequate rate of explosions. Even modest magnetic fields on the white dwarf and M dwarf will yield adequate torques to lock the two stars together, resulting in a slowly rotating white dwarf, with the magnetic poles pointing at one another in the orbital plane. The mass loss will be channeled by a "magnetic bottle" connecting the two stars, landing on a concentrated polar area on the white dwarf. This enhances the effective rate...

  17. Angular Momentum Transport in Double White Dwarf Binaries

    Motl, Patrick M.; Tohline, J. E.; Frank, J.

    2006-12-01

    We present numerical simulations of dynamically unstable mass transfer in a double white dwarf binary with initial mass ratio, q = 0.4. The binary components are approximated as polytropes of index n = 3/2 and the synchronously rotating, semi-detached equilibrium binary is evolved hydrodynamically with the gravitational potential being computed through the solution of Poisson's equation. Upon initiating deep contact, the mass transfer rate grows by more than an order of magnitude over approximately ten orbits, as would be expected for dynamically unstable mass transfer. However, the mass transfer rate then reaches a peak value, the binary expands and the mass transfer event subsides. The binary must therefore have crossed the critical mass ratio for stability against dynamical mass transfer. Despite the initial loss of orbital angular momentum into the spin of the accreting star, we find that the accretor's spin saturates and angular momentum is returned to the orbit more efficiently than has been previously suspected for binaries in the direct impact accretion mode. To explore this surprising result, we directly measure the critical mass ratio for stability by imposing artificial angular momentum loss at various rates to drive the binary to an equilibrium mass transfer rate. For one of these driven evolutions, we attain equilibrium mass transfer and deduce that the mass ratio for stability is approximately 2/3. This is consistent with the result for mass transferring binaries that effectively return angular momentum to the orbit through an accretion disk. This work has been supported in part by NSF grants AST 04-07070 and PHY 03-26311 and in part through NASA's ATP program grant NAG5-13430. The computations were performed primarily at NCSA through grant MCA98N043 and at LSU's Center for Computation & Technology.

  18. PULSATIONAL MAPPING OF CALCIUM ACROSS THE SURFACE OF A WHITE DWARF

    We constrain the distribution of calcium across the surface of the white dwarf star G29-38 by combining time-series spectroscopy from Gemini-North with global time-series photometry from the Whole Earth Telescope. G29-38 is actively accreting metals from a known debris disk. Since the metals sink significantly faster than they mix across the surface, any inhomogeneity in the accretion process will appear as an inhomogeneity of the metals on the surface of the star. We measure the flux amplitudes and the calcium equivalent width amplitudes for two large pulsations excited on G29-38 in 2008. The ratio of these amplitudes best fits a model for polar accretion of calcium and rules out equatorial accretion.

  19. Induced Compression of White Dwarfs by Angular Momentum Loss

    Boshkayev, Kuantay; Ruffini, Remo; Zhami, Bakytzhan

    2016-01-01

    We investigate isolated sub- and super-Chandrasekhar white dwarfs which lose angular momentum through magnetic dipole braking. We construct constant rest mass sequences by fulfilling all stability criteria of rotating configurations and show how the main structure of white dwarfs such as the central density, mean radius and angular velocity change with time. We explicitly demonstrate that all isolated white dwarfs regardless of their masses, by angular momentum loss, shrink and increase their central density. We also analyze the effects of the structure parameters on the evolution timescale both in the case of constant magnetic field and constant magnetic flux.

  20. Halo White Dwarfs, Thick Disks and a Sanity Check

    Hansen, Brad M. S.

    2001-01-01

    The discovery of a population of high proper motion white dwarfs by Oppenheimer et al (2001) has caused a lot of speculation as to the origin of these stars. I show that the age distribution of the white dwarfs offers a kind of sanity check in these discussions. In particular, this population appears to have a similar age distribution to those in the standard, thin disk white dwarf population. This is not what is expected for either the halo or thick disk, which are thought to be old populati...

  1. Searching for the white dwarf in WZ sagitae

    Far ultraviolet spectra of WZ Sge from July 1979 through November 1981 were studied to search for the spectroscopic signature of the white dwarf primary. The ultraviolet fluxes continued to decline throughout this period. The observed energy distribution in Nov 1981 can be matched by a DA-type white dwarf with an effective temperature of 145000K and an apparent visual magnitude of 14.7. Even so, questions still remain about wether the white dwarf actually has been seen in this system

  2. Mass-radius relations of white dwarfs at finite temperatures

    Boshkayev, Kuantay; Ruffini, Remo; Zhami, Bakytzhan; Kalymova, Zhanerke; Balgimbekov, Galymdin

    2016-01-01

    We construct mass-radius relations of white dwarfs taking into account the effects of rotation and finite temperatures. We compare and contrast the theoretical mass-radius relations with observational data.

  3. Circumstellar debris and pollution at white dwarf stars

    Farihi, J.

    2016-04-01

    Circumstellar disks of planetary debris are now known or suspected to closely orbit hundreds of white dwarf stars. To date, both data and theory support disks that are entirely contained within the preceding giant stellar radii, and hence must have been produced during the white dwarf phase. This picture is strengthened by the signature of material falling onto the pristine stellar surfaces; disks are always detected together with atmospheric heavy elements. The physical link between this debris and the white dwarf host abundances enables unique insight into the bulk chemistry of extrasolar planetary systems via their remnants. This review summarizes the body of evidence supporting dynamically active planetary systems at a large fraction of all white dwarfs, the remnants of first generation, main-sequence planetary systems, and hence provide insight into initial conditions as well as long-term dynamics and evolution.

  4. Outbursts in two new cool pulsating DA white dwarfs

    Bell, Keaton J; Montgomery, M H; Fusillo, N P Gentile; Raddi, R; Gaensicke, B T; Winget, D E; Dennihy, E; Gianninas, A; Tremblay, P -E; Chote, P; Winget, K I

    2016-01-01

    The unprecedented extent of coverage provided by Kepler observations recently revealed outbursts in two hydrogen-atmosphere pulsating white dwarfs (DAVs) that cause hours-long increases in the overall mean flux of up to 14%. We have identified two new outbursting pulsating white dwarfs in K2, bringing the total number of known outbursting white dwarfs to four. EPIC 211629697, with T_eff = 10,780 +/- 140 K and log(g) = 7.94 +/- 0.08, shows outbursts recurring on average every 5.0 d, increasing the overall flux by up to 15%. EPIC 229227292, with T_eff = 11,190 +/- 170 K and log(g) = 8.02 +/- 0.05, has outbursts that recur roughly every 2.4 d with amplitudes up to 9%. We establish that only the coolest pulsating white dwarfs within a small temperature range near the cool, red edge of the DAV instability strip exhibit these outbursts.

  5. Circumstellar Debris and Pollution at White Dwarf Stars

    Farihi, J

    2016-01-01

    Circumstellar disks of planetary debris are now known or suspected to closely orbit hundreds of white dwarf stars. To date, both data and theory support disks that are entirely contained within the preceding giant stellar radii, and hence must have been produced during the white dwarf phase. This picture is strengthened by the signature of material falling onto the pristine stellar surfaces; disks are always detected together with atmospheric heavy elements. The physical link between this debris and the white dwarf host abundances enables unique insight into the bulk chemistry of extrasolar planetary systems via their remnants. This review summarizes the body of evidence supporting dynamically active planetary systems at a large fraction of all white dwarfs, the remnants of first generation, main-sequence planetary systems, and hence provide insight into initial conditions as well as long-term dynamics and evolution.

  6. General Relativistic White Dwarfs and Their Astrophysical Implications

    Boshkayev, Kuantay; Ruffini, Remo; Siutsou, Ivan

    2014-01-01

    We consider applications of general relativistic uniformly-rotating white dwarfs to several astrophysical phenomena related to the spin-up and the spin-down epochs and to delayed type Ia supernova explosions of super-Chandrasekhar white dwarfs, where we estimate the "spinning down" lifetime due to magnetic-dipole braking. In addition, we describe the physical properties of Soft Gamma Repeaters and Anomalous X-Ray Pulsars as massive rapidly-rotating highly-magnetized white dwarfs. Particularly we consider one of the so-called low-magnetic-field magnetars SGR 0418+5729 as a massive rapidly-rotating highly-magnetized white dwarf and give bounds for the mass, radius, moment of inertia, and magnetic field by requiring the general relativistic uniformly-rotating configurations to be stable.

  7. A EUTECTIC IN CARBON-OXYGEN WHITE DWARFS ?

    Stevenson, D.

    1980-01-01

    When the interior of a white dwarf begins to freeze, the coexisting solid and liquid phases will have different compositions in general. Two models for the carbon-oxygen phase diagram are described. In the more realistic model, a pronounced eutetic is predicted and the solid phase is either pure carbon or pure oxygen. The model predicts that a white dwarf begins to freeze later in its evolution and then cools more slowly.

  8. Dark halo baryons not in ancient halo white dwarfs

    Crézé, M.; Mohan, V; Robin, A.C.; Reylé, C.; Mc Cracken, H.,; Cuillandre, J.-C.; Le Fèvre, O.; Mellier, Y

    2004-01-01

    accepted in Astronomy and Astrophysics (19-05-2004) Having ruled out the possibility that stellar objects are the main contributor of the dark matter embedding galaxies, microlensing experiments cannot exclude the hypothesis that a significant fraction of the Milky Way dark halo might be made of MACHOs with masses in the range $0.5-0.8 \\msun$. Ancient white dwarfs are generally considered the most plausible candidates for such MACHOs. We report the results of a search for such white dwarfs...

  9. A double white dwarf with a paradoxical origin?

    Bours, M C P; Gaensicke, B T; Tauris, T M; Istrate, A G; Badenes, C; Dhillon, V S; Gal-Yam, A; Hermes, J J; Kengkriangkrai, S; Kilic, M; Koester, D; Mullally, F; Prasert, N; Steeghs, D; Thompson, S E; Thorstensen, J R

    2015-01-01

    We present Hubble Space Telescope UV spectra of the 4.6 h period double white dwarf SDSS J125733.63+542850.5. Combined with Sloan Digital Sky Survey optical data, these reveal that the massive white dwarf (secondary) has an effective temperature T2 = 13030 +/- 70 +/- 150 K and a surface gravity log g2 = 8.73 +/- 0.05 +/- 0.05 (statistical and systematic uncertainties respectively), leading to a mass of M2 = 1.06 Msun. The temperature of the extremely low-mass white dwarf (primary) is substantially lower at T1 = 6400 +/- 37 +/- 50 K, while its surface gravity is poorly constrained by the data. The relative flux contribution of the two white dwarfs across the spectrum provides a radius ratio of R1/R2 = 4.2, which, together with evolutionary models, allows us to calculate the cooling ages. The secondary massive white dwarf has a cooling age of about 1 Gyr, while that of the primary low-mass white dwarf is likely to be much longer, possibly larger than 5 Gyrs, depending on its mass and the strength of chemical di...

  10. Most Double Degenerate Low Mass White Dwarf Binaries Merge

    Brown, Warren R; Kenyon, Scott J; Gianninas, A

    2016-01-01

    We estimate the merger rate of double degenerate binaries containing extremely low mass (ELM) <0.3 Msun white dwarfs in the Galaxy. Such white dwarfs are detectable for timescales of 0.1 Gyr -- 1 Gyr in the ELM Survey; the binaries they reside in have gravitational wave merger times of 0.001 Gyr -- 100 Gyr. To explain the observed distribution requires that most ELM white dwarf binary progenitors detach from the common envelope phase with <1 hr orbital periods. We calculate the local space density of ELM white dwarf binaries and estimate a merger rate of 3e-3/yr over the entire disk of the Milky Way; the merger rate in the halo is 10 times smaller. The ELM white dwarf binary merger rate exceeds by a factor of 40 the formation rate of stable mass transfer AM CVn binaries, marginally exceeds the rate of underluminous supernovae, and is identical to the formation rate of R CrB stars. On this basis, we conclude that ELM white dwarf binaries can be the progenitors of all observed AM CVn and possibly underlum...

  11. The White Dwarfs within 25 Parsecs of the Sun: Kinematics and Spectroscopic Subtypes

    Sion, E M; Oswalt, T D; McCook, G P; Wasatonic, R; Myszka, J

    2014-01-01

    We present the fractional distribution of spectroscopic subtypes, range and distribution of surface temperatures, and kinematical properties of the white dwarfs within 25pc of the sun. There is no convincing evidence of halo white dwarfs in the total 25 pc sample of 224 white dwarfs. There is also little to suggest the presence of genuine thick disk subcomponent members within 25 parsecs. It appears that the entire 25 pc sample likely belong to the thin disk. We also find no significant kinematic differences with respect to spectroscopic subtypes. The total DA to non-DA ratio of the 25 pc sample is 1.8, a manifestation of deepening envelope convection which transforms DA stars with sufficiently thin H surface layers into non-DAs. We compare this ratio with the results of other studies. We find that at least 11% of the white dwarfs within 25 parsecs of the sun (the DAZ and DZ stars) have photospheric metals that likely originate from accretion of circumstellar material (debris disks) around them. If this inter...

  12. TWO NEW TIDALLY DISTORTED WHITE DWARFS

    We identify two new tidally distorted white dwarfs (WDs), SDSS J174140.49+652638.7 and J211921.96–001825.8 (hereafter J1741 and J2119). Both stars are extremely low mass (ELM, ≤ 0.2 M☉) WDs in short-period, detached binary systems. High-speed photometric observations obtained at the McDonald Observatory reveal ellipsoidal variations and Doppler beaming in both systems; J1741, with a minimum companion mass of 1.1 M☉, has one of the strongest Doppler beaming signals ever observed in a binary system (0.59% ± 0.06% amplitude). We use the observed ellipsoidal variations to constrain the radius of each WD. For J1741, the star's radius must exceed 0.074 R☉. For J2119, the radius exceeds 0.10 R☉. These indirect radius measurements are comparable to the radius measurements for the bloated WD companions to A-stars found by the Kepler spacecraft, and they constitute some of the largest radii inferred for any WD. Surprisingly, J1741 also appears to show a 0.23% ± 0.06% reflection effect, and we discuss possible sources for this excess heating. Both J1741 and J2119 are strong gravitational wave sources, and the time-of-minimum of the ellipsoidal variations can be used to detect the orbital period decay. This may be possible on a timescale of a decade or less.

  13. Two New Tidally Distorted White Dwarfs

    Hermes, J J; Brown, Warren R; Montgomery, M H; Winget, D E

    2012-01-01

    We identify two new tidally distorted white dwarfs (WDs), SDSS J174140.49+652638.7 and J211921.96-001825.8 (hereafter J1741 and J2119). Both stars are extremely low mass (ELM, < 0.2 Msun) WDs in short-period, detached binary systems. High-speed photometric observations obtained at the McDonald Observatory reveal ellipsoidal variations and Doppler beaming in both systems; J1741, with a minimum companion mass of 1.1 Msun, has one of the strongest Doppler beaming signals ever observed in a binary system (0.59 \\pm 0.06% amplitude). We use the observed ellipsoidal variations to constrain the radius of each WD. For J1741, the star's radius must exceed 0.074 Rsun. For J2119, the radius exceeds 0.10 Rsun. These indirect radius measurements are comparable to the radius measurements for the bloated WD companions to A-stars found by the Kepler spacecraft, and they constitute some of the largest radii inferred for any WD. Surprisingly, J1741 also appears to show a 0.23 \\pm 0.06% reflection effect, and we discuss possi...

  14. Spin and Magnetism of White Dwarfs

    Kissin, Yevgeni

    2015-01-01

    The magnetism and rotation of white dwarf (WD) stars are investigated in relation to a hydromagnetic dynamo operating in the progenitor during shell burning phases. We find that the downward pumping of angular momentum in the convective envelope can, by itself, trigger dynamo action near the core-envelope boundary in an isolated intermediate-mass star. A solar-mass star must receive additional angular momentum following its rotational braking on the main sequence, either by a merger with a planet, or by tidal interaction in a stellar binary. Several arguments point to the outer core as the source for a magnetic field in the WD remnant: i) the outer third of a ~0.55$M_\\odot$ WD is processed during the shell burning phases of the progenitor; ii) escape of magnetic helicity through the envelope mediates the growth of (compensating) helicity in the core, as is needed to maintain a stable magnetic field in the remnant; and iii) intense radiation flux at the core boundary facilitates magnetic buoyancy within a rela...

  15. Thermonuclear detonations ensuing white dwarf mergers

    Dan, Marius; Brüggen, Marcus; Ramirez-Ruiz, Enrico; Rosswog, Stephan

    2015-01-01

    The merger of two white dwarfs (WDs) has for many years not been considered as the favoured model for the progenitor system of type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia). But recent years have seen a change of opinion as a number of studies, both observational and theoretical, have concluded that they should contribute significantly to the observed type Ia supernova rate. In this paper, we study the ignition and propagation of detonation through post-merger remnants and we follow the resulting nucleosynthesis up to the point where a homologous expansion is reached. In our study we cover the entire range of WD masses and compositions. For the emergence of a detonation we study several setups, guided by both merger remnants from our own simulations and by results taken from the literature. We carefully compare the nucleosynthetic yields of successful explosions with SN Ia observations. Only three of our models are consistent with all the imposed constraints and potentially lead to a standard type Ia event. The first one, a $0...

  16. Magnetically powered outbursts from white dwarf mergers

    Beloborodov, Andrei M

    2013-01-01

    Merger of a white dwarf binary creates a differentially rotating object which is expected to generate strong magnetic fields. Kinetic energy stored in differential rotation is partially dissipated in the magnetically dominated corona, which forms a hot variable outflow with ejection velocity comparable to $10^9$ cm s$^{-1}$. The outflow should carry significant mass and energy for hours to days, creating an expanding fireball with the following features. (i) The fireball is initially opaque and its internal energy is dominated by the trapped thermal radiation. The stored heat is partially converted to kinetic energy of the flow (through adiabatic cooling) and partially radiated away. (ii) Internal shocks develop in the fireball and increase its radiative output. (iii) A significant fraction of the emitted energy is in the optical band. As a result, a bright optical transient with luminosity $L\\sim 10^{41}-10^{42}$ erg s$^{-1}$ and a characteristic peak duration comparable to 1 day may be expected from the mer...

  17. A Search for Fine Wines: Discovering Close Red Dwarf-White Dwarf Binaries

    Boyd, Mark; Finch, C. T.; Hambly, N. C.; Henry, T. J.; Jao, W.; Riedel, A. R.; Subasavage, J. P.; Winters, J. G.; RECONS

    2012-01-01

    Like fine wines, stars come in both red and white varieties. Here we present initial results of the Fine Wines Project that targets red dwarf-white dwarf pairs. The two scientific goals of Fine Wines are (1) to develop methods to estimate ages for red dwarfs based on the cooling ages of the white dwarfs, and (2) to identify suitable pairs for dynamical mass determinations of white dwarfs to probe their interior structures. Here we focus on the search for Fine Wines, including sample selection, elimination of false positives, and initial reconnaissance. The sample was extracted via color-color plots from a pool of more than 30,000 proper motion systems examined during the SuperCOSMOS-RECONS (SCR) and UCAC3 Proper Motion (UPM) surveys. The initial sample of 75 best candidates is being observed for BVRI photometry and 3500-9500 A spectroscopy to confirm whether or not the systems are red dwarf-white dwarf pairs. Early results indicate that roughly 50% of the candidates selected are indeed Fine Wine systems. This effort is supported by the NSF through grant AST 09-08402 and via observations made possible by the SMARTS Consortium.

  18. The Discovery of the Most Metal-Rich White Dwarf: Composition of a Tidally Disrupted Extrasolar Dwarf Planet

    Dufour, P; Fontaine, G; Bergeron, P; Lachapelle, F -R; Kleinman, S J; Leggett, S K

    2010-01-01

    Cool white dwarf stars are usually found to have an outer atmosphere that is practically pure in hydrogen or helium. However, a small fraction have traces of heavy elements that must originate from the accretion of extrinsic material, most probably circumstellar matter. Upon examining thousands of Sloan Digital Sky Survey spectra, we discovered that the helium-atmosphere white dwarf SDSS J073842.56+183509.6 shows the most severe metal pollution ever seen in the outermost layers of such stars. We present here a quantitative analysis of this exciting star by combining high S/N follow-up spectroscopic and photometric observations with model atmospheres and evolutionary models. We determine the global structural properties of our target star, as well as the abundances of the most significant pollutants in its atmosphere, i.e., H, O, Na, Mg, Si, Ca, and Fe. The relative abundances of these elements imply that the source of the accreted material has a composition similar to that of Bulk Earth. We also report the si...

  19. A Dark Spot on a Massive White Dwarf

    Kilic, Mukremin; Bell, Keaton J; Curd, Brandon; Brown, Warren R; Hermes, J J; Dufour, Patrick; Wisniewski, John P; Winget, D E; Winget, K I

    2015-01-01

    We present the serendipitous discovery of eclipse-like events around the massive white dwarf SDSS J152934.98+292801.9 (hereafter J1529+2928). We selected J1529+2928 for time-series photometry based on its spectroscopic temperature and surface gravity, which place it near the ZZ Ceti instability strip. Instead of pulsations, we detect photometric dips from this white dwarf every 38 minutes. Follow-up optical spectroscopy observations with Gemini reveal no significant radial velocity variations, ruling out stellar and brown dwarf companions. A disintegrating planet around this white dwarf cannot explain the observed light curves in different filters. Given the short period, the source of the photometric dips must be a dark spot that comes into view every 38 min due to the rotation of the white dwarf. Our optical spectroscopy does not show any evidence of Zeeman splitting of the Balmer lines, limiting the magnetic field strength to B<70 kG. Since up to 15% of white dwarfs display kG magnetic fields, such ecli...

  20. Collapsed White Dwarfs as Gamma-Ray Burst Sources

    de Paolis, F.; Ingrosso, G.; Qadir, A.

    1995-09-01

    It has been suggested by Usov (1992) that accreting white dwarfs, collapsing to neutron stars may be the sources of the gamma-ray bursts observed at cosmological distances, provided they rotate very fast and have enormously high magnetic fields. In this model the burst's durationτ is given by the ratio of pulsar kinetic energy and magneticdipole luminosity, so that in order to account for the shortest (τ ˜ 0.1 s) bursts, the pulsars must rotate very fast (with periodP ˜ 0.5 ms) and have magnetic fields of 1016 - 1017 G. Though the high pulsar frequency was anticipated (Qadir and Rafique, 1986) and has been shown to be plausible (Abramowicz, 1990), the extremely high magnetic fields seem anomalous as observed neutron stars have fields below ˜ 1013 G. The problem with Usov's proposal is reduced by incorporating the relativistic corrections for fast rotating magnetic dipoles (Belinskyet al., 1994) or magnetic stars (De Paolis and Qadir, 1994). These corrections substantially enhance the radiation efficiency due to the existence of a magnetic synchrotron effect so that the magnetic field required for the explanation of the shortest gamma-ray bursts is strongly reduced. As such the model becomes much more plausible.

  1. A precision study of two eclipsing white dwarf plus M dwarf binaries

    Parsons, S G; Gänsicke, B T; Rebassa-Mansergas, A; Dhillon, V S; Littlefair, S P; Copperwheat, C M; Hickman, R D G; Burleigh, M R; Kerry, P; Koester, D; Gómez-Morán, A Nebot; Pyrzas, S; Savoury, C D J; Schreiber, M R; Schmidtobreick, L; Schwope, A D; Steele, P R; Tappert, C

    2011-01-01

    We use a combination of X-shooter spectroscopy, ULTRACAM high-speed photometry and SOFI near-infrared photometry to measure the masses and radii of both components of the eclipsing post common envelope binaries SDSS J1212-0123 and GK Vir. For both systems we measure the gravitational redshift of the white dwarf and combine it with light curve model fits to determine the inclinations, masses and radii. For SDSS J1212-0123 we find a white dwarf mass and radius of 0.439 +/- 0.002 Msun and 0.0168 +/- 0.0003 Rsun, and a secondary star mass and radius of 0.273 +/- 0.002 Msun and 0.306 +/- 0.007 Rsun. For GK Vir we find a white dwarf mass and radius of 0.564 +/- 0.014 Msun and 0.0170 +/- 0.0004 Rsun, and a secondary star mass and radius of 0.116 +/- 0.003 Msun and 0.155 +/- 0.003 Rsun. The mass and radius of the white dwarf in GK Vir are consistent with evolutionary models for a 50,000K carbon-oxygen core white dwarf. Although the mass and radius of the white dwarf in SDSS J1212-0123 are consistent with carbon-oxyge...

  2. New White Dwarf Stars in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 10

    Kepler, S O; Koester, Detlev; Ourique, Gustavo; Kleinman, Scot J; Romero, Alejandra Daniela; Nitta, Atsuko; Eisenstein, Daniel J; Costa, José Eduardo da Silveira; Külebi, Baybars; Jordan, Stefan; Dufour, Patrick; Giommi, Paolo; Rebassa-Mansergas, Alberto

    2014-01-01

    We report the discovery of 9 088 new spectroscopically confirmed white dwarfs and subdwarfs in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 10. We obtain Teff, log g and mass for hydrogen atmosphere white dwarf stars (DAs) and helium atmosphere white dwarf stars (DBs), and estimate the calcium/helium abundances for the white dwarf stars with metallic lines (DZs) and carbon/helium for carbon dominated spectra DQs. We found 1 central star of a planetary nebula, 2 new oxygen spectra on helium atmosphere white dwarfs, 71 DQs, 42 hot DO/PG1159s, 171 white dwarf+main sequence star binaries, 206 magnetic DAHs, 327 continuum dominated DCs, 397 metal polluted white dwarfs, 450 helium dominated white dwarfs, 647 subdwarfs and 6887 new hydrogen dominated white dwarf stars.

  3. Thermonuclear detonations ensuing white dwarf mergers

    Dan, M.; Guillochon, J.; Brüggen, M.; Ramirez-Ruiz, E.; Rosswog, S.

    2015-12-01

    The merger of two white dwarfs (WDs) has for many years not been considered as the favoured model for the progenitor system of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia). But recent years have seen a change of opinion as a number of studies, both observational and theoretical, have concluded that they should contribute significantly to the observed SN Ia rate. In this paper, we study the ignition and propagation of detonation through post-merger remnants and we follow the resulting nucleosynthesis up to the point where a homologous expansion is reached. In our study we cover the entire range of WD masses and compositions. For the emergence of a detonation we study three different setups. The first two are guided by the merger remnants from our earlier simulations, while for the third one the ignitions were set by placing hotspots with properties determined by spatially resolved calculations taken from the literature. There are some caveats to our approach which we investigate. We carefully compare the nucleosynthetic yields of successful explosions with SN Ia observations. Only three of our models are consistent with all the imposed constraints and potentially lead to a standard Type Ia event. The first one, a 0.45 M⊙ helium (He) + 0.9 M⊙ carbon-oxygen (CO) WD system produces a sub-luminous, SN 1991bg-like event while the other two, a 0.45 M⊙ He+1.1 M⊙ oxygen-neon WD system and a 1.05 + 1.05 M⊙ system with two CO WDs, are good candidates for common SNe Ia.

  4. Quiescent nuclear burning in low-metallicity white dwarfs

    Bertolami, Marcelo M Miller; Garcia-Berro, Enrique

    2013-01-01

    We discuss the impact of residual nuclear burning in the cooling sequences of hydrogen-rich DA white dwarfs with very low metallicity progenitors ($Z=0.0001$). These cooling sequences are appropriate for the study of very old stellar populations. The results presented here are the product of self-consistent, fully evolutionary calculations. Specifically, we follow the evolution of white dwarf progenitors from the zero-age main sequence through all the evolutionary phases, namely the core hydrogen-burning phase, the helium-burning phase, and the thermally pulsing asymptotic giant branch phase to the white dwarf stage. This is done for the most relevant range of main sequence masses, covering the most usual interval of white dwarf masses --- from $0.53\\, M_{\\sun}$ to $0.83\\, M_{\\sun}$. Due to the low metallicity of the progenitor stars, white dwarfs are born with thicker hydrogen envelopes, leading to more intense hydrogen burning shells as compared with their solar metallicity counterparts. We study the phase ...

  5. Signs of a faint disc population at polluted white dwarfs

    Bergfors, Carolina; Dufour, Patrick; Rocchetto, Marco

    2014-01-01

    Observations of atmospheric metals and dust discs around white dwarfs provide important clues to the fate of terrestrial planetary systems around intermediate mass stars. We present Spitzer IRAC observations of 15 metal polluted white dwarfs to investigate the occurrence and physical properties of circumstellar dust created by the disruption of planetary bodies. We find subtle infrared excess emission consistent with warm dust around KUV 15519+1730 and HS 2132+0941, and weaker excess around the DZ white dwarf G245-58, which, if real, makes it the coolest white dwarf known to exhibit a 3.6 micron excess and the first DZ star with a bright disc. All together our data corroborate a picture where 1) discs at metal-enriched white dwarfs are commonplace and most escape detection in the infrared (possibly as narrow rings), 2) the discs are long lived, having lifetimes on the order of 10^6 yr or longer, and 3) the frequency of bright, infrared detectable discs decreases with age, on a timescale of roughly 500 Myr, su...

  6. Cool white dwarf companions to four millisecond pulsars

    Bassa, C G; Camilo, F; Cognard, I; Koester, D; Kramer, M; Ransom, S R; Stappers, B W

    2015-01-01

    We report on photometric and spectroscopic observations of white dwarf companions to four binary radio millisecond pulsars, leading to the discovery of companions to PSRs J0614-3329, J1231-1411 and J2017+0603. We place limits on the brightness of the companion to PSR J0613-0200. Optical spectroscopy of the companion to PSR J0614-3329 identifies it as a DA type white dwarf with a temperature of Teff=6460+-80 K, a surface gravity log g=7.0+-0.2 cgs and a mass of Mwd=0.24+-0.04 Msun. We find that the distance to PSR J0614-3329 is smaller than previously estimated, removing the need for the pulsar to have an unrealistically high gamma-ray efficiency. Comparing the photometry with predictions from white dwarf cooling models allows us to estimate temperatures and cooling ages of the companions to PSRs J0613-0200, J1231-1411 and J2017+0603. We find that the white dwarfs in these systems are cool Teff5 Gyr. Thin Hydrogen envelopes are required for these white dwarfs to cool to the observed temperatures, and we sugges...

  7. Do all barium stars have a white dwarf companion?

    Dominy, J. F.; Lambert, D. L.

    1983-01-01

    International Ultraviolet Explorer short-wavelength, low-dispersion spectra were analyzed for four barium, two mild barium, and one R-type carbon star in order to test the hypothesis that the barium and related giants are produced by mass transfer from a companion now present as a white dwarf. An earlier tentative identification of a white dwarf companion to the mild barium star Zeta Cyg is confirmed. For the other stars, no ultraviolet excess attributable to a white dwarf is seen. Limits are set on the bolometric magnitude and age of a possible white dwarf companion. Since the barium stars do not have obvious progenitors among main-sequence and subgiant stars, mass transfer must be presumed to occur when the mass-gaining star is already on the giant branch. This restriction, and the white dwarf's minimum age, which is greater than 8 x 10 to the 8th yr, determined for several stars, effectively eliminates the hypothesis that mass transfer from an asymptotic giant branch star creates a barium star. Speculations are presented on alternative methods of producing a barium star in a binary system.

  8. Discovery of kilogauss magnetic fields in three DA white dwarfs

    Aznar Cuadrado, R; Napiwotzki, R; Schmid, H M; Solanki, S K; Mathys, G

    2004-01-01

    We have detected longitudinal magnetic fields between 2 and 4 kG in three (WD 0446$-$790, WD 1105$-$048, WD 2359$-$434) out of a sample of 12 normal DA white dwarfs by using optical spectropolarimetry done with the VLT Antu 8 m telescope equipped with FORS1. With the exception of 40 Eri B (4 kG) these are the first positive detections of magnetic fields in white dwarfs below 30 kG. Although suspected, it was not clear whether a significant fraction of white dwarfs contain magnetic fields at this level. These fields may be explained as fossil relics from magnetic fields in the main-sequence progenitors considerably enhanced by magnetic flux conservation during the shrinkage of the core. A detection rate of 25 % (3/12) may indicate now for the first time that a substantial fraction of white dwarfs have a weak magnetic field. This result, if confirmed by future observations, would form a cornerstone for our understanding on the evolution of stellar magnetic fields. Keywords: stars: white dwarfs - stars: magnetic...

  9. A DEEPLY ECLIPSING DETACHED DOUBLE HELIUM WHITE DWARF BINARY

    Using Liverpool Telescope+RISE photometry we identify the 2.78 hr period binary star CSS 41177 as a detached eclipsing double white dwarf binary with a 21,100 K primary star and a 10,500 K secondary star. This makes CSS 41177 only the second known eclipsing double white dwarf binary after NLTT 11748. The 2 minute long primary eclipse is 40% deep and the secondary eclipse 10% deep. From Gemini+GMOS spectroscopy, we measure the radial velocities of both components of the binary from the Hα absorption line cores. These measurements, combined with the light curve information, yield white dwarf masses of M1 = 0.283 ± 0.064 Msun and M2 = 0.274 ± 0.034 Msun, making them both helium core white dwarfs. As an eclipsing, double-lined spectroscopic binary, CSS 41177 is ideally suited to measuring precise, model-independent masses and radii. The two white dwarfs will merge in roughly 1.1 Gyr to form a single sdB star.

  10. Pulsations powered by hydrogen shell burning in white dwarfs

    Camisassa, María E; Althaus, Leandro G; Shibahashi, Hiromoto

    2016-01-01

    In the absence of a third dredge-up episode during the asymptotic giant branch phase, white dwarf models evolved from low-metallicity progenitors have a thick hydrogen envelope, which makes hydrogen shell burning be the most important energy source. We investigate the pulsational stability of white dwarf models with thick envelopes to see whether nonradial $g$-mode pulsations are triggered by hydrogen burning, with the aim of placing constraints on hydrogen shell burning in cool white dwarfs and on a third dredge-up during the asymptotic giant branch evolution of their progenitor stars. We construct white-dwarf sequences from low-metallicity progenitors by means of full evolutionary calculations, and analyze their pulsation stability for the models in the range of effective temperatures $T_{\\rm eff} \\sim 15\\,000\\,-\\, 8\\,000$ K. We demonstrate that, for white dwarf models with masses $M_{\\star} \\lesssim 0.71\\,\\rm M_{\\sun}$ and effective temperatures $8\\,500 \\lesssim T_{\\rm eff} \\lesssim 11\\,600$ K that evolved...

  11. Chandra grating spectroscopy of three hot white dwarfs

    Adamczak, J; Rauch, T; Schuh, S; Drake, J J; Kruk, J W

    2012-01-01

    High-resolution soft X-ray spectroscopic observations of single hot white dwarfs are scarce. With the Chandra Low-Energy Transmission Grating, we have observed two white dwarfs, one is of spectral type DA (LB 1919) and the other is a non-DA of spectral type PG1159 (PG 1520+525). The spectra of both stars are analyzed, together with an archival Chandra spectrum of another DA white dwarf (GD 246). The soft X-ray spectra of the two DA white dwarfs are investigated in order to study the effect of gravitational settling and radiative levitation of metals in their photospheres. LB 1919 is of interest because it has a significantly lower metallicity than DAs with otherwise similar atmospheric parameters. GD 246 is the only white dwarf known that shows identifiable individual iron lines in the soft X-ray range. For the PG1159 star, a precise effective temperature determination is performed in order to confine the position of the blue edge of the GW Vir instability region in the HRD. (abridged)

  12. Ageing in old degenerates: asteroseismology of white dwarf stars

    Recent results on the use of pulsations in white dwarf stars as seismic probes of their structure are reviewed. The evolution of stars to the white dwarf stage is first described, followed by a discussion of their structure as expected from the theory of stellar evolution. A summary of the salient points of stellar pulsation theory is given and then compared with observations of pulsating white dwarfs: the pulsations are non-radial 'g-mode' pulsations and occur in all white dwarfs as they cool through the temperature ranges defining each of the four 'instability strips' on the white dwarf cooling curve. The presence of only some of the possible pulsation modes in any given star suggest that a filter mechanism to select these modes is at work, possibly the chemical stratification of the star. The pulsation periods can be measured very accurately so that period changes, due to evolutionary cooling, can be detected over relatively short intervals (2 - 30 years). The detection of such period changes can be used to place interesting limits on the age of the Galaxy and ultimately the age of the Universe. 17 refs., 10 figs., 2 tabs

  13. Searching for benchmark systems containing ultra-cool dwarfs and white dwarfs

    Pinfield D.J.

    2013-04-01

    Full Text Available We have used the 2MASS all-sky survey and WISE to look for ultracool dwarfs that are part of multiple systems containing main sequence stars. We cross-matched L dwarf candidates from the surveys with Hipparcos and Gliese stars, finding two new systems. We consider the binary fraction for L dwarfs and main sequence stars, and further assess possible unresolved multiplicity within the full companion sample. This analysis shows that some of the L dwarfs in this sample might actually be unresolved binaries themselves. We have also identified a sample of common proper motion systems in which a main sequence star has a white dwarf as wide companion. These systems can help explore key issues in star evolution theory, as the initial-final mass relationship of white dwarfs, or the chromospheric activity-age relationship for stars still in the main sequence. Spectroscopy for 50 white dwarf candidates, selected from the SuperCOSMOS Science Archive, was obtained. We have also observed 6 of the main sequence star companions, and have estimated their effective temperatures, rotational and microturbulent velocities and metallicities.

  14. Detection of a white dwarf in a visual binary system

    Boehm-Vitense, Erika

    1980-01-01

    The F6 giant HD 160365 was detected to have a white dwarf companion about 8 arcsec south of the star. The UV energy distribution observed with International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) shows that the white dwarf has an effective temperature of 23,000 +/- 2,000 K. If log g = 8 the Ly(alpha) profile indicates an effective temperature around 24,500 K. Using the theoretical models, one finds a visual magnitude of m(sub v) is approximately 16.5. For T(sub eff) = 24,500 K one expects for a white dwarf a luminosity of log L/solar luminosity is approximately -1.3 and M(sub V) is approximately 10.67. This gives a distance modulus for the system of m(sub v) - M(sub V) = 5.83 and an absolute magnitude M(sub v) = 0.3 for the giant.

  15. The atmospheric parameters of nearby white dwarfs revisited

    Giammichele, N.; Bergeron, P.; Dufour, P.

    2010-11-01

    We present improved atmospheric parameters of nearby white dwarfs lying within 20 pc of the Sun. The aim of the current study is to obtain the best statistical model of the least-biased sample of the white dwarf population. A homogeneous analysis of the local population is performed combining detailed spectroscopic and photometric analyses based on improved model atmosphere calculations for various spectral types including DA, DQ, and DZ stars. The spectroscopic technique is applied to all stars in our sample for which optical spectra are available. Photometric energy distributions, when available, are also combined to trigonometric parallax measurements to derive effective temperatures, stellar radii, as well as atmospheric compositions. A revised catalog of white dwarfs in the solar neighborhood is completed. Effective temperature, mass distributions, and luminosity function are also discussed.

  16. Double Detonation of Sub-Chandrasekhar White Dwarfs and Subluminous Type Ia Supernovae

    Sivaram, C; Arun, Kenath

    2010-01-01

    Type Ia supernovae are thought to result from thermonuclear explosions of carbon-oxygen white dwarf stars. This model generally explains the observed properties with certain exceptions, like sub-luminous supernovae. Here we discuss the possibility of sub-Chandrasekhar WDs detonating due to the build up of a layer of helium on the C-O WD by accreting from a helium rich companion star to explain observed deviations such as subluminous type Ia. We also detail some of the energetics involved that...

  17. Search For Oxygen in Cool DQ White Dwarf Atmospheres

    Kilic, M.; Winget, D. E.; von Hippel, T.; Lester, D. F.; Saumon, D

    2002-01-01

    We report new infrared spectroscopic observations of cool DQ white dwarfs by using Coolspec on the 2.7m Harlan-Smith Telescope. DQs have helium-rich atmospheres with traces of molecular carbon thought to be the result of convective dredge-up from their C/O interiors. Recent model calculations predict that oxygen should also be present in DQ atmospheres in detectable amounts. Our synthetic spectra calculations for He-rich white dwarfs with traces of C and O indicate that CO should be easily de...

  18. Magnetic White Dwarf Stars in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

    Kepler, S. O.; Pelisoli, Ingrid; Jordan, Stefan; Kleinman, Scot J.; Kulebi, Baybars; Koester, Detlev; Peçanha, Viviane; Castanheira, Bárbara G.; Nitta, Atsuko; Costa, José Eduardo da Silveira; Winget, Don Earl; Kanaan, Antonio; Fraga, Luciano

    2012-01-01

    To obtain a better statistics on the occurrence of magnetism among white dwarfs, we searched the spectra of the hydrogen atmosphere white dwarf stars (DAs) in the Data Release 7 of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) for Zeeman splittings and estimated the magnetic fields. We found 521 DAs with detectable Zeeman splittings, with fields in the range from around 1 MG to 733 MG, which amounts to 4% of all DAs observed. As the SDSS spectra have low signal-to-noise ratios, we carefully investigate...

  19. White dwarfs: composition, mass budget and galactic evolution

    Recent results on the composition of white dwarf atmospheres, both hydrogen-rich (DA) and hydrogen-poor (non-DA) are summarized. DA atmospheres seem to be helium- and metal-poor by factors of at least 10 and 100, non-DA atmospheres are extremely helium-rich (He/H > 104) and metal-poor, but have variable carbon content. Whereas the interior composition must be that of the products of helium burning, little is known about the composition of the nondegenerate envelope. Consideration of stellar evolution and white dwarf formation via the Planetary Nebula stage gives restraints on composition and mass fraction of the outer envelopes. (orig./BJ)

  20. Astro-archaeology - The white dwarfs and hot subwarfs

    Van Horn, Hugh M.

    1991-01-01

    By 'astroarcheology' is presently meant the effort to ascertain the Galaxy's past in light of what is found in its most ancient, white dwarf constituents. Attention is given to the controversial role of the hot subdwarfs and the theory of white dwarf spectral evolution, as well as to the concept of the 'Whole Earth Telescope', involving continuous photometric coverage of rapidly varying astronomical sources and thereby eliminating the otherwise troublesome diurnal gaps in data. Much higher resolution of the power spectra of these objects is attainable by these means than any current alternative.

  1. A Very Low-Luminosity, Very Cool, DC White Dwarf

    Harris, Hugh; Dahn, Conard; Vrba, Frederick; Henden, Arne; Liebert, James; Schmidt, Gary; Reid, Neill

    1999-01-01

    The star LHS 3250 is found to be a white dwarf at a distance of 30 pc. Its absolute magnitudes (M_V = 15.72; M_bol = 16.2) put it among the least-luminous white dwarfs known. Its optical spectrum shows no features, indicating it has a DC classification, and it shows no detectable polarization, indicating it does not have a very strong magnetic field. However, its broadband colors show it to have a unique spectral energy distribution, and it stands out from all other stars in BVI and other bro...

  2. GRMHD formulation of highly super-Chandrasekhar rotating magnetised white dwarfs: Stable configurations of non-spherical white dwarfs

    Subramanian, Sathyawageeswar

    2015-01-01

    Here we extend the exploration of significantly super-Chandrasekhar magnetised white dwarfs by numerically computing axisymmetric stationary equilibria of differentially rotating magnetised polytropic compact stars in general relativity (GR), within the ideal magnetohydrodynamic regime. We use a general relativistic magnetohydrodynamic (GRMHD) framework that describes rotating and magnetised axisymmetric white dwarfs, choosing appropriate rotation laws and magnetic field profiles (toroidal and poloidal). The numerical procedure for finding solutions in this framework uses the 3+1 formalism of numerical relativity, implemented in the open source XNS code. We construct equilibrium sequences by varying different physical quantities in turn, and highlight the plausible existence of super-Chandrasekhar white dwarfs, with masses in the range of 2-3 solar mass, with central (deep interior) magnetic fields of the order of $10^{14}$ Gauss and differential rotation with surface time periods of about 1-10 seconds. We no...

  3. An independent test of the photometric selection of white dwarf candidates using LAMOST DR3

    Gentile Fusillo, N. P.; Rebassa-Mansergas, A.; Gänsicke, B. T.; Liu, X.-W.; Ren, J. J.; Koester, D.; Zhan, Y.; Hou, Y.; Wang, Y.; Yang, M.

    2015-09-01

    In previous work by Gentile Fusillo et al., we developed a selection method for white dwarf candidates which makes use of photometry, colours and proper motions to calculate a probability of being a white dwarf (PWD). The application of our method to the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) data release 10 resulted in ≃66 000 photometrically selected objects with a derived PWD, approximately ≃21 000 of which are high-confidence white dwarf candidates. Here, we present an independent test of our selection method based on a sample of spectroscopically confirmed white dwarfs from the Large Sky Area Multi-Fiber Spectroscopic Telescope (LAMOST) survey. We do this by cross-matching all our ≃66 000 SDSS photometric white dwarf candidates with the over 4 million spectra available in the third data release of LAMOST. This results in 1673 white dwarf candidates with no previous SDSS spectroscopy, but with available LAMOST spectra. Among these objects, we identify 309 genuine white dwarfs. We find that our PWD can efficiently discriminate between confirmed LAMOST white dwarfs and contaminants. Our white dwarf candidate selection method can be applied to any multiband photometric survey and in this work we conclusively confirm its reliability in selecting white dwarfs without recourse to spectroscopy. We also discuss the spectroscopic completeness of white dwarfs in LAMOST, as well as deriving effective temperatures, surface gravities and masses for the hydrogen-rich atmosphere white dwarfs in the newly identified LAMOST sample.

  4. Supernova SN 2011fe from an exploding carbon-oxygen white dwarf star.

    Nugent, Peter E; Sullivan, Mark; Cenko, S Bradley; Thomas, Rollin C; Kasen, Daniel; Howell, D Andrew; Bersier, David; Bloom, Joshua S; Kulkarni, S R; Kandrashoff, Michael T; Filippenko, Alexei V; Silverman, Jeffrey M; Marcy, Geoffrey W; Howard, Andrew W; Isaacson, Howard T; Maguire, Kate; Suzuki, Nao; Tarlton, James E; Pan, Yen-Chen; Bildsten, Lars; Fulton, Benjamin J; Parrent, Jerod T; Sand, David; Podsiadlowski, Philipp; Bianco, Federica B; Dilday, Benjamin; Graham, Melissa L; Lyman, Joe; James, Phil; Kasliwal, Mansi M; Law, Nicholas M; Quimby, Robert M; Hook, Isobel M; Walker, Emma S; Mazzali, Paolo; Pian, Elena; Ofek, Eran O; Gal-Yam, Avishay; Poznanski, Dovi

    2011-12-15

    Type Ia supernovae have been used empirically as 'standard candles' to demonstrate the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe even though fundamental details, such as the nature of their progenitor systems and how the stars explode, remain a mystery. There is consensus that a white dwarf star explodes after accreting matter in a binary system, but the secondary body could be anything from a main-sequence star to a red giant, or even another white dwarf. This uncertainty stems from the fact that no recent type Ia supernova has been discovered close enough to Earth to detect the stars before explosion. Here we report early observations of supernova SN 2011fe in the galaxy M101 at a distance from Earth of 6.4 megaparsecs. We find that the exploding star was probably a carbon-oxygen white dwarf, and from the lack of an early shock we conclude that the companion was probably a main-sequence star. Early spectroscopy shows high-velocity oxygen that slows rapidly, on a timescale of hours, and extensive mixing of newly synthesized intermediate-mass elements in the outermost layers of the supernova. A companion paper uses pre-explosion images to rule out luminous red giants and most helium stars as companions to the progenitor. PMID:22170680

  5. First Detection of Krypton and Xenon in a White Dwarf

    Werner, Klaus; Rauch, Thomas; Ringat, Ellen; Kruk, Jeffrey W.

    2012-01-01

    We report on the first detection of the noble gases krypton (Z = 36) and xenon (54) in a white dwarf. About 20 KrVI-VII and Xe VI-VII lines were discovered in the ultraviolet spectrum of the hot DO-type white dwarf RE 0503-289. The observations, performed with the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer, also reveal highly ionized photospheric lines from other trans-iron group elements, namely Ga (31), Ge (32), As (33), Se (34), Mo (42), Sn (50), Te (52), and I (53), from which gallium and molybdenum are new discoveries in white dwarfs, too. For Kr and Xe, we performed an NLTE analysis and derived mass fractions of log Kr = -4.3 plus or minus 0.5 and log Xe = -4.2 plus or minus 0.6, corresponding to an enrichment by factors of 450 and 3800, respectively, relative to the Sun. The origin of the large overabundances is unclear. We discuss the roles of neutron-capture nucleosynthesis in the-precursor star and radiation-driven diffusion. It is possible that diffusion is insignificant and thaI the observed metal abundances constrain the evolutionary history of the star. Its hydrogen deficiency may be the consequence of a late helium-shell nash or a binary white dwarf merger.

  6. FIRST DETECTION OF KRYPTON AND XENON IN A WHITE DWARF

    Werner, Klaus; Rauch, Thomas; Ringat, Ellen [Institute for Astronomy and Astrophysics, Kepler Center for Astro and Particle Physics, Eberhard Karls University Tuebingen, Sand 1, 72076 Tuebingen (Germany); Kruk, Jeffrey W. [NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771 (United States)

    2012-07-01

    We report on the first detection of the noble gases krypton (Z = 36) and xenon (54) in a white dwarf. About 20 Kr VI- VII and Xe VI- VII lines were discovered in the ultraviolet spectrum of the hot DO-type white dwarf RE 0503-289. The observations, performed with the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer, also reveal highly ionized photospheric lines from other trans-iron group elements, namely Ga (31), Ge (32), As (33), Se (34), Mo (42), Sn (50), Te (52), and I (53), from which gallium and molybdenum are new discoveries in white dwarfs, too. For Kr and Xe, we performed an NLTE analysis and derived mass fractions of log Kr = -4.3 {+-} 0.5 and log Xe = -4.2 {+-} 0.6, corresponding to an enrichment by factors of 450 and 3800, respectively, relative to the Sun. The origin of the large overabundances is unclear. We discuss the roles of neutron-capture nucleosynthesis in the precursor star and radiation-driven diffusion. It is possible that diffusion is insignificant and that the observed metal abundances constrain the evolutionary history of the star. Its hydrogen deficiency may be the consequence of a late helium-shell flash or a binary white dwarf merger.

  7. Lithium production in the merging of white dwarf stars

    Longland, Richard; José, Jordi; García-Berro, Enrique; Althaus, Leandro G

    2012-01-01

    The origin of R Coronae Borealis stars has been elusive for over 200 years. Currently, two theories for their formation have been presented. These are the Final Flash scenario, in which a dying asymptotic giant branch (AGB) star throws off its atmosphere to reveal the hydrogen poor, heavily processed material underneath, and the double degenerate scenario, in which two white dwarfs merge to produce a new star with renewed vigour. Some theories predict that the temperatures reached during the latter scenario would destroy any lithium originally present in the white dwarfs. The observed lithium content of some R Coronae Borealis stars, therefore, is often interpreted as an indication that the Final Flash scenario best describes their formation. In this paper, it is shown that lithium production can, indeed, occur in the merging of a helium white dwarf with a carbon-oxygen white dwarf if their chemical composition, particularly that of 3He, is fully considered. The production mechanism is described in detail, an...

  8. Global properties of the white dwarf pulsar AR Scorpii

    Franzon, B

    2016-01-01

    In view of the new recent observation and measurement of the fast-rotating and highly-magnetized white dwarf AR Sco \\cite{Marsh:2016uhc}, we determine bounds for its radius, magnetic fields, moment of inertia and gravitational wave (GW) emission by using observations of the luminosity, as well the rotation frequency $\

  9. The brightest pure-H ultracool white dwarf

    Catalan, S; Pinfield, D J; Smith, L C; Zhang, Z H; Napiwotzki, R; Marocco, F; Day-Jones, A C; Gomes, J; Forde, K P; Lucas, P W; Jones, H R A

    2012-01-01

    We report the identification of LSR J0745+2627 in the United Kingdom InfraRed Telescope Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS) Large Area Survey (LAS) as a cool white dwarf with kinematics and age compatible with the thick-disk/halo population. LSR J0745+2627 has a high proper motion (890 mas/yr) and a high reduced proper motion value in the J band (H_J=21.87). We show how the infrared-reduced proper motion diagram is useful for selecting a sample of cool white dwarfs with low contamination. LSR J0745+2627 is also detected in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and the Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE). We have spectroscopically confirmed this object as a cool white dwarf using X-Shooter on the Very Large Telescope. A detailed analysis of its spectral energy distribution reveals that its atmosphere is compatible with a pure-H composition model with an effective temperature of 3880+-90 K. This object is the brightest pure-H ultracool white dwarf (Teff<4000 K) ever identified. We have constrained the dis...

  10. Magnetic White Dwarfs from the SDSS. The First Data Release

    Schmidt, G D

    2003-01-01

    Beyond its goals related to the extragalactic universe, the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) is an effective tool for identifying stellar objects with unusual spectral energy distributions. Here we report on the 53 new magnetic white dwarfs discovered during the first two years of the survey, including 38 whose data are made public in the 1500 square-degree First Data Release. Discoveries span the magnitude range 16.3 3 MG and g > 15. The new objects nearly double the total number of known magnetic white dwarfs, and include examples with polar field strengths B > 500 MG as well as several with exotic atmospheric compositions. The improved sample statistics and uniformity indicate that the distribution of magnetic white dwarfs has a broad peak in the range ~5-30 MG and a tail extending to nearly 10^9 G. Degenerates with polar fields B > 50 MG are consistent with being descendents of magnetic Ap/Bp main-sequence stars, but low- and moderate-field magnetic white dwarfs appear to imply another origin. Yet-undetec...