Posts Tagged white dwarf

Recent Postings from white dwarf

Fourteen new eclipsing white dwarf plus main-sequence binaries from the SDSS and Catalina surveys

We report on the search for new eclipsing white dwarf plus main-sequence (WDMS) binaries in the light curves of the Catalina surveys. We use a colour selected list of almost 2000 candidate WDMS systems from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, specifically designed to identify WDMS systems with cool white dwarfs and/or early M type main-sequence stars. We identify a total of 17 eclipsing systems, 14 of which are new discoveries. We also find 3 candidate eclipsing systems, 2 main-sequence eclipsing binaries and 22 non-eclipsing close binaries. Our newly discovered systems generally have optical fluxes dominated by the main-sequence components, which have earlier spectral types than the majority of previously discovered eclipsing systems. We find a large number of ellipsoidally variable binaries with similar periods, near 4 hours, and spectral types M2–3, which are very close to Roche-lobe filling. We also find that the fraction of eclipsing systems is lower than found in previous studies and likely reflects a lower close binary fraction among WDMS binaries with early M-type main-sequence stars due to their enhanced angular momentum loss compared to fully convective late M type stars, hence causing them to become cataclysmic variables quicker and disappear from the WDMS sample. Our systems bring the total number of known detached, eclipsing WDMS binaries to 71.

High-speed Photometric Observations of ZZ Ceti White Dwarf Candidates

We present high-speed photometric observations of ZZ Ceti white dwarf candidates drawn from the spectroscopic survey of bright DA stars from the Villanova White Dwarf Catalog by Gianninas et al., and from the recent spectroscopic survey of white dwarfs within 40 parsecs of the Sun by Limoges et al. We report the discovery of six new ZZ Ceti pulsators from these surveys, and several photometrically constant DA white dwarfs, which we then use to refine the location of the ZZ Ceti instability strip.

White dwarf evolutionary sequences for low-metallicity progenitors: The impact of third dredge-up

We present new white dwarf evolutionary sequences for low-metallicity progenitors. White dwarf sequences have been derived from full evolutionary calculations that take into account the entire history of progenitor stars, including the thermally-pulsing and the post-asymptotic giant branch phases. We show that for progenitor metallicities in the range 0.00003–0.001, and in the absence of carbon enrichment due to the occurrence of a third dredge-up episode, the resulting H envelope of the low-mass white dwarfs is thick enough to make stable H burning the most important energy source even at low luminosities. This has a significant impact on white dwarf cooling times. This result is independent of the adopted mass-loss rate during the thermally-pulsing and post-AGB phases, and the planetary nebulae stage. We conclude that in the absence of third dredge-up episodes, a significant part of the evolution of low-mass white dwarfs resulting from low-metallicity progenitors is dominated by stable H burning. Our study opens the possibility of using the observed white dwarf luminosity function of low-metallicity globular clusters to constrain the efficiency of third dredge up episodes during the thermally-pulsing AGB phase of low-metallicity progenitors.

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 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, the consequences to the WD of no mixing of accreted material with core material have been investigated and the material involved in the explosion has only a Solar composition. I find that once sufficient material has been accreted, nuclear burning continues until a thermonuclear runaway (TNR) occurs and the WD either ejects a small amount of material or its radius grows to about $10^{12}$ cm and the calculations are stopped. In all cases where mass ejection occurs, the mass of the ejecta is far less than the mass of the accreted material. Therefore, all the WDs are growing in mass. (Abridged)

Discovery of Two New Thermally Bloated Low-Mass White Dwarfs Among the Kepler Binaries

We report the discovery of two new low-mass, thermally bloated, hot white dwarfs among the Kepler sample of eclipsing binaries. These are KIC 9164561 and KIC 10727668 with orbital periods of 1.2670 and 2.3058 days, respectively. The current primary in both systems is an A star of about 2 Msun. This brings the number of similar binaries among the Kepler sample to six, and the two new systems have the shortest orbital periods among them. The white dwarf in KIC 9164561 has the largest thermal bloating, compared to its cold degenerate radius, of about a factor of 14. We utilize RV measurements of the A star in KIC 9164561 to determine the white dwarf mass rather accurately: 0.197 +/- 0.005 Msun. The mass of the white dwarf in KIC 10727668 is based on the Doppler boosting signal in the Kepler photometry, and is less accurately determined to be 0.266 +/- 0.035 Msun. Based on the inferred radii and effective temperatures of these two white dwarfs we are able to make an independent theoretical estimate of their masses to within ~0.01 Msun based on evolutionary models of their cooling history after they lose their hydrogen-rich envelopes. We also present evidence that there is a third body in the KIC 9164561 system with an orbital period of 8-14 years.

Discovery of Two New Thermally Bloated Low-Mass White Dwarfs Among the Kepler Binaries [Replacement]

We report the discovery of two new low-mass, thermally bloated, hot white dwarfs among the Kepler sample of eclipsing binaries. These are KIC 9164561 and KIC 10727668 with orbital periods of 1.2670 and 2.3058 days, respectively. The current primary in both systems is an A star of about 2 Msun. This brings the number of similar binaries among the Kepler sample to six, and the two new systems have the shortest orbital periods among them. The white dwarf in KIC 9164561 has the largest thermal bloating, compared to its cold degenerate radius, of about a factor of 14. We utilize RV measurements of the A star in KIC 9164561 to determine the white dwarf mass rather accurately: 0.197 +/- 0.005 Msun. The mass of the white dwarf in KIC 10727668 is based on the Doppler boosting signal in the Kepler photometry, and is less accurately determined to be 0.266 +/- 0.035 Msun. Based on the inferred radii and effective temperatures of these two white dwarfs we are able to make an independent theoretical estimate of their masses to within ~0.01 Msun based on evolutionary models of their cooling history after they lose their hydrogen-rich envelopes. We also present evidence that there is a third body in the KIC 9164561 system with an orbital period of 8-14 years.

Stellar laboratories IV. New Ga IV, Ga V, and Ga VI oscillator strengths and the gallium abundance in the hot white dwarfs G191-B2B and RE0503-289

For the spectral analysis of high-resolution and high-signal-to-noise (S/N) spectra of hot stars, advanced non-local thermodynamic equilibrium (NLTE) model atmospheres are mandatory. These atmospheres are strongly dependent on the reliability of the atomic data that are used to calculate them. Reliable Ga IV – VI oscillator strengths are used to identify Ga lines in the spectra of the DA-type white dwarf G191-B2B and the DO-type white dwarf RE0503-289 and to determine their photospheric Ga abundances. We newly calculated Ga IV – VI oscillator strengths to consider their radiative and collisional bound-bound transitions in detail in our NLTE stellar-atmosphere models for analyzing of Ga lines exhibited in high-resolution and high-S/N UV observations of G191-B2B and RE0503-289. We unambiguously detected 20 isolated and 6 blended (with lines of other species) Ga V lines in the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) spectrum of RE0503-289. The identification of Ga IV and Ga VI lines is uncertain because they are weak and partly blended by other lines. The determined Ga abundance is 3.5 +/- 0.5 x 10**-5 (mass fraction, about 625 times solar). The Ga IV / GA V ionization equilibrium, which is a very sensitive indicator for the effective temperature, is well reproduced in RE0503-289. We identified the strongest Ga IV lines (1258.801, 1338.129 A) in the HST/STIS (Hubble Space Telescope / Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph) spectrum of G191-B2B and measured a Ga abundance of 2.0 +/- 0.5 x 10**-6 (about 22 times solar). Reliable measurements and calculations of atomic data are a prerequisite for stellar-atmosphere modeling. Observed Ga IV – V line profiles in two white dwarf (G191-B2B and RE0503-289) ultraviolet spectra were well reproduced with our newly calculated oscillator strengths. For the first time, this allowed us to determine the photospheric Ga abundance in white dwarfs.

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

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.

Spiral Disk Instability Can Drive Thermonuclear Explosions in Binary White Dwarf Mergers [Replacement]

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.

HST+COS spectra of the double white dwarf CSS 41177 place the secondary inside the pulsational instability strip

We present Hubble Space Telescope + Cosmic Origins Spectrograph (HST+COS) data of the eclipsing double white dwarf binary CSS 41177. Due to the temperature difference between the two white dwarfs, the HST+COS far-ultraviolet data are dominated by the hot, primary white dwarf and allow us to precisely measure its temperature (T1). Using eclipse observations, we also tightly constrain the temperature of the cooler secondary white dwarf (T2). Our results, where T1 = 22439 +/- 59 K and T2 = 10876 +/- 32 K, with the uncertainties being purely statistical, place the secondary inside and close to the blue edge of the empirical instability strip for low temperature hydrogen-atmosphere white dwarfs. Dedicated high-speed photometry is encouraged to probe for the presence of pulsations, which will constrain the border of the instability strip as well as probe a new region of low gravity within the strip.

Hubble Space Telescope observations of the Kepler-field cluster NGC 6819. I. The bottom of the white dwarf cooling sequence

We use Hubble Space Telescope (HST) to reach the end of the white dwarf (WD) cooling sequence (CS) in the solar-metallicity open cluster NGC 6819. Our photometry and completeness tests show a sharp drop in the number of WDs along the CS at magnitudes fainter than mF606W = 26.050+/- 0.075. This implies an age of 2.25+/-0.20 Gyr, consistent with the age of 2.25+/-0.30 Gyr obtained from fits to the main-sequence turn-off. The use of different WD cooling models and initial-final-mass relations have a minor impact the WD age estimate, at the level of ~0.1 Gyr. As an important by-product of this investigation we also release, in electronic format, both the catalogue of all the detected sources and the atlases of the region (in two filters). Indeed, this patch of sky studied by HST (of size ~70 arcmin sq.) is entirely within the main Kepler-mission field, so the high-resolution images and deep catalogues will be particularly useful.

Pan-chromatic observations of the remarkable nova LMC 2012

We present the results of an intensive multiwavelength campaign on nova LMC 2012. This nova evolved very rapidly in all observed wavelengths. The time to fall two magnitudes in the V band was only 2 days. In X-rays the super soft phase began 13$\pm$5 days after discovery and ended around day 50 after discovery. During the super soft phase, the \Swift/XRT and \Chandra\ spectra were consistent with the underlying white dwarf being very hot, $\sim$ 1 MK, and luminous, $\sim$ 10$^{38}$ erg s$^{-1}$. The UV, optical, and near-IR photometry showed a periodic variation after the initial and rapid fading had ended. Timing analysis revealed a consistent 19.24$\pm$0.03 hr period in all UV, optical, and near-IR bands with amplitudes of $\sim$ 0.3 magnitudes which we associate with the orbital period of the central binary. No periods were detected in the corresponding X-ray data sets. A moderately high inclination system, $i$ = 60$\pm$10$^{\arcdeg}$, was inferred from the early optical emission lines. The {\it HST}/STIS UV spectra were highly unusual with only the \ion{N}{5} (1240\AA) line present and superposed on a blue continuum. The lack of emission lines and the observed UV and optical continua from four epochs can be fit with a low mass ejection event, $\sim$ 10$^{-6}$ M$_{\odot}$, from a hot and massive white dwarf near the Chandrasekhar limit. The white dwarf, in turn, significantly illuminated its subgiant companion which provided the bulk of the observed UV/optical continuum emission at the later dates. The inferred extreme white dwarf characteristics and low mass ejection event favor nova LMC 2012 being a recurrent nova of the U Sco subclass.

Multiwaveband photometry of the irradiated brown dwarf WD0137-349B

WD0137-349 is a white dwarf-brown dwarf binary system in a 116 minute orbit. We present radial velocity observations and multiwaveband photometry from V, R and I in the optical, to J, H and Ks in the near-IR and [3.6], [4.5], [5.8] and [8.0] microns in the mid-IR. The photometry and lightcurves show variability in all wavebands, with the amplitude peaking at [4.5] microns, where the system is also brightest. Fluxes and brightness temperatures were computed for the heated and unheated atmosphere of the brown dwarf (WD0137-349B) using synthetic spectra of the white dwarf using model atmosphere simulations. We show that the flux from the brown dwarf dayside is brighter than expected in the Ks and [4.5] micron bands when compared to models of irradiated brown dwarfs with full energy circulation and suggest this over-luminosity may be attributed to H2 fluorescence or H3+ being generated in the atmosphere by the UV irradiation.

Multiwaveband photometry of the irradiated brown dwarf WD0137-349B [Replacement]

WD0137-349 is a white dwarf-brown dwarf binary system in a 116 minute orbit. We present radial velocity observations and multiwaveband photometry from V, R and I in the optical, to J, H and Ks in the near-IR and [3.6], [4.5], [5.8] and [8.0] microns in the mid-IR. The photometry and lightcurves show variability in all wavebands, with the amplitude peaking at [4.5] microns, where the system is also brightest. Fluxes and brightness temperatures were computed for the heated and unheated atmosphere of the brown dwarf (WD0137-349B) using synthetic spectra of the white dwarf using model atmosphere simulations. We show that the flux from the brown dwarf dayside is brighter than expected in the Ks and [4.5] micron bands when compared to models of irradiated brown dwarfs with full energy circulation and suggest this over-luminosity may be attributed to H2 fluorescence or H3+ being generated in the atmosphere by the UV irradiation.

White-dwarf+main-sequence binaries identified from the tenth data release of Solan Digital Sky Survey

We have presented 309 new white-dwarf (WD) + main-sequence (MS) star binaries identified from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Tenth Data Release (DR10). The majority of them consist of a white dwarf and a low-mass secondary (typically M dwarf) companion. The SDSS spectra of the newly found WDMS binaries with a DA/DB white dwarf and an M/late-K dwarf companion are analyzed based on a spectral decomposition/fitting method. White dwarf effective temperatures, surface gravities and masses together with the secondary star spectral types are obtained, and the stellar parameters of DA WDs with $T_{\rm eff}\la 14,000$ K are revised to the results in the case of 3D model atmosphere. Two independent distance estimates are derived from the flux-scaling factors between the WDMS SDSS spectra and the white dwarf and M-dwarf model spectra. It is found that about more than 20 per cent of the newly found WDMS binaries show a significant discrepancy between the two distance estimates. This might be caused by the effects of M-dwarf stellar activity or irradiation of the M dwarf companions by the white dwarf. The stellar parameter distributions are used to investigate the global properties of newly found WDMS binaries, the results shown in this work are consistent with those derived by previous investigators. Some WDMS binaries have been observed more than one ($2-4$) times by SDSS, it is found that four of them exhibit not only Hydrogen emission in all observable Balmer series lines in addition to He I line Balmer lines but also the rapid variation in the radial velocities of the components in these binaries. This suggests that they should be the post common envelope binaries (PCEBs) with a short orbital period. These young PCEBs are very important for limiting the results of common envelope phase of the binary evolution.

ASTRO-H White Paper - White Dwarf

Interacting binaries in which a white dwarf accretes material from a companion — cataclysmic variables (CVs) in which the mass loss is via Roche-lobe overflow, and symbiotic stars in which the white dwarf captures the wind of a late type giant — are relatively commonplace. They display a wide range of behaviors in the optical, X-rays, and other wavelengths, which still often baffles observers and theorists alike. They are likely to be a significant contributor to the Galactic ridge X-ray emission, and the possibility that some CVs or symbiotic stars may be the progenitors of some of the Type Ia supernovae deserves serious consideration. Furthermore, these binaries serve as excellent laboratories in which to study physics of X-ray emission from high density plasma, accretion physics, reflection, and particle acceleration. ASTRO-H is well-matched to the study of X-ray emission from many of these objects. In particular, the excellent spectral resolution of the SXS will enable dynamical studies of the X-ray emitting plasma. We also discuss the possibility of identifying an accreting, near-Chandrasekhar-mass white dwarf by measuring the gravitational redshift of the 6.4 keV line.

Discovery of ZZ Cetis in detached white dwarf plus main-sequence binaries

We present the first results of a dedicated search for pulsating white dwarfs (WDs) in detached white dwarf plus main-sequence binaries. Candidate systems were selected from a catalogue of WD+MS binaries, based on the surface gravities and effective temperatures of the WDs. We observed a total of 26 systems using ULTRACAM mounted on ESO’s 3.5m New Technology Telescope (NTT) at La Silla. Our photometric observations reveal pulsations in seven WDs of our sample, including the first pulsating white dwarf with a main-sequence companion in a post common envelope binary, SDSSJ1136+0409. Asteroseismology of these new pulsating systems will provide crucial insight into how binary interactions, particularly the common envelope phase, affect the internal structure and evolution of WDs. In addition, our observations have revealed the partially eclipsing nature of one of our targets, SDSSJ1223-0056.

Evidence for an Anhydrous Carbonaceous Extrasolar Minor Planet

Using Keck/HIRES, we report abundances of 11 different elements heavier than helium in the spectrum of Ton 345, a white dwarf that has accreted one of its own minor planets. This particular extrasolar planetesimal which was at least 60% as massive as Vesta appears to have been carbon-rich and water-poor; we suggest it was compositionally similar to those Kuiper Belt Objects with relatively little ice.

The Binary Companion of Young, Relativistic Pulsar J1906+0746

PSR J1906+0746 is a young pulsar in the relativistic binary with the second-shortest known orbital period, of 3.98 hours. We here present a timing study based on five years of observations, conducted with the 5 largest radio telescopes in the world, aimed at determining the companion nature. Through the measurement of three post-Keplerian orbital parameters we find the pulsar mass to be 1.291(11) M_sol, and the companion mass 1.322(11) M_sol respectively. These masses fit well in the observed collection of double neutron stars, but are also compatible with other white dwarfs around young pulsars such as J1906+0746. Neither radio pulsations nor dispersion-inducing outflows that could have further established the companion nature were detected. We derive an HI-absorption distance, which indicates that an optical confirmation of a white dwarf companion is very challenging. The pulsar is fading fast due to geodetic precession, limiting future timing improvements. We conclude that young pulsar J1906+0746 is likely part of a double neutron star, or is otherwise orbited by an older white dwarf, in an exotic system formed through two stages of mass transfer.

Formation of redbacks via accretion induced collapse

We examine the growing class of binary millisecond pulsars known as redbacks. In these systems the pulsar’s companion has a mass between 0.1 and about 0.5 solar masses in an orbital period of less than 1.5 days. All show extended radio eclipses associated with circumbinary material. They do not lie on the period-companion mass relation expected from the canonical intermediate-mass X-ray binary evolution in which the companion filled its Roche lobe as a red giant and has now lost its envelope and cooled as a white dwarf. The redbacks lie closer to, but usually at higher period than, the period-companion mass relation followed by cataclysmic variables and low-mass X-ray binaries. In order to turn on as a pulsar mass accretion on to a neutron star must be sufficiently weak, considerably weaker than expected in systems with low-mass main-sequence companions driven together by magnetic braking or gravitational radiation. If a neutron star is formed by accretion induced collapse of a white dwarf as it approaches the Chandrasekhar limit some baryonic mass is abruptly lost to its binding energy so that its effective gravitational mass falls. We propose that redbacks form when accretion induced collapse of a white dwarf takes place during cataclysmic variable binary evolution because the loss of gravitational mass makes the orbit expand suddenly so that the companion no longer fills its Roche lobe. Once activated, the pulsar can ablate its companion and so further expand the orbit and also account for the extended eclipses in the radio emission of the pulsar that are characteristic of these systems. The whole period-companion mass space occupied by the redbacks can be populated in this way.

Late-time near-infrared observations of SN 2005df

We present late-time ($200-400$ days) near-infrared spectral evolution for the Type Ia supernova SN 2005df. The spectra show numerous strong emission features of [CoII], [CoIII], and [FeII] throughout the $0.8-1.8$\mu m region. As the spectrum ages, the cobalt features fade as would be expected from the decay of $^{56}$Co to $^{56}$Fe. We show that the strong and isolated [FeII] emission line at $1.644$\mu m provides a unique tool to analyze near-infrared spectra of Type Ia supernovae. Normalization of spectra to this line allows separation of features produced by stable versus unstable isotopes of iron group elements. We develop a new method of determining the initial central density, $\rho_c$, and the magnetic field, $B$, of the white dwarf using the width of the $1.644$\mu m line. The line width is sensitive because of electron capture in the early stages of burning, which increases as a function of density. The sensitivity of the line width to $B$ increase with time and the effects of the magnetic field shift towards later times with decreasing $\rho_c$. The initial central density for SN 2005df is measured as $\rho_c=0.9(\pm0.2)$ (in $10^9$g/cm$^3$), which corresponds to a white dwarf close to the Chandrasekhar mass ($\rm M_{Ch}$) with $\rm M_{WD}=1.313(\pm0.034)$M$_{\odot}$ and systematic error less than $0.04$M$_{\odot}$. Within $\rm M_{Ch}$ explosions, however, the central density found for SN 2005df is very low for a H-accretor, possibly suggesting a helium star companion or a tidally-disrupted white dwarf companion. As an alternative, we suggest mixing of the central region. We find some support for high initial magnetic fields of strength $10^6$G for SN 2005df, however, $0$G cannot be ruled out because of noise in the spectra combined with low $\rho_c$.

Testing Fundamental Particle Physics with the Galactic White Dwarf Luminosity Function [Cross-Listing]

Recent determinations of the white dwarf luminosity function (WDLF) from very large surveys have extended our knowledge of the WDLF to very high luminosities. It has been shown that the shape of the luminosity function of white dwarfs (WDLF) is a powerful tool to test the possible properties and existence of fundamental weakly interacting subelectronvolt particles. This, together with the availability of new full evolutionary white dwarf models that are reliable at high luminosities, have opened the possibility of testing particle emission in the core of very hot white dwarfs. We use the available WDLFs from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the SuperCOSMOS Sky Survey to constrain the values of the neutrino magnetic dipole moment ($\mu_\nu$) and the axion-electron coupling constant ($g_{ae}$) of DFSZ-axions.

Testing Fundamental Particle Physics with the Galactic White Dwarf Luminosity Function

Recent determinations of the white dwarf luminosity function (WDLF) from very large surveys have extended our knowledge of the WDLF to very high luminosities. It has been shown that the shape of the luminosity function of white dwarfs (WDLF) is a powerful tool to test the possible properties and existence of fundamental weakly interacting subelectronvolt particles. This, together with the availability of new full evolutionary white dwarf models that are reliable at high luminosities, have opened the possibility of testing particle emission in the core of very hot white dwarfs. We use the available WDLFs from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the SuperCOSMOS Sky Survey to constrain the values of the neutrino magnetic dipole moment ($\mu_\nu$) and the axion-electron coupling constant ($g_{ae}$) of DFSZ-axions.

Do the constants of nature couple to strong gravitational fields? [Replacement]

Recently, white dwarf stars have found a new use in the fundamental physics community. Many prospective theories of the fundamental interactions of Nature allow traditional constants, like the fine structure constant $\alpha$, to vary in some way. A study by Berengut et al. (2013) used the Fe/Ni V line measurements made by Preval et al. (2013) from the hot DA white dwarf G191-B2B, in an attempt to detect any variation in $\alpha$. It was found that the Fe V lines indicated an increasing alpha, whereas the Ni V lines indicated a decreasing alpha. Possible explanations for this could be misidentification of the lines, inaccurate atomic data, or wavelength dependent distortion in the spectrum. We examine the first two cases by using a high S/N reference spectrum from the hot sdO BD+28$^{\circ}$4211 to calibrate the Fe/Ni V atomic data. With this new data, we re-evaluate the work of Berengut et al. (2013) to derive a new constraint on the variation of alpha in a gravitational field.

Do the constants of nature couple to strong gravitational fields? [Replacement]

Recently, white dwarf stars have found a new use in the fundamental physics community. Many prospective theories of the fundamental interactions of Nature allow traditional constants, like the fine structure constant $\alpha$, to vary in some way. A study by Berengut et al. (2013) used the Fe/Ni V line measurements made by Preval et al. (2013) from the hot DA white dwarf G191-B2B, in an attempt to detect any variation in $\alpha$. It was found that the Fe V lines indicated an increasing alpha, whereas the Ni V lines indicated a decreasing alpha. Possible explanations for this could be misidentification of the lines, inaccurate atomic data, or wavelength dependent distortion in the spectrum. We examine the first two cases by using a high S/N reference spectrum from the hot sdO BD+28$^{\circ}$4211 to calibrate the Fe/Ni V atomic data. With this new data, we re-evaluate the work of Berengut et al. (2013) to derive a new constraint on the variation of alpha in a gravitational field.

Do the constants of nature couple to strong gravitational fields?

Recently, white dwarf stars have found a new use in the fundamental physics community. Many prospective theories of the fundamental interactions of Nature allow traditional constants, like the fine structure constant $\alpha$, to vary in some way. A study by Berengut et al. (2013) used the Fe/Ni V line measurements made by Preval et al. (2013) from the hot DA white dwarf G191-B2B, in an attempt to detect any variation in $\alpha$. It was found that the Fe V lines indicated an increasing alpha, whereas the Ni V lines indicated a decreasing alpha. Possible explanations for this could be misidentification of the lines, inaccurate atomic data, or wavelength dependent distortion in the spectrum. We examine the first two cases by using a high S/N reference spectrum from the hot sdO BD+28$^{\circ}$4211 to calibrate the Fe/Ni V atomic data. With this new data, we re-evaluate the work of Berengut et al. (2013) to derive a new constraint on the variation of alpha in a gravitational field.

Do the constants of nature couple to strong gravitational fields? [Cross-Listing]

Recently, white dwarf stars have found a new use in the fundamental physics community. Many prospective theories of the fundamental interactions of Nature allow traditional constants, like the fine structure constant $\alpha$, to vary in some way. A study by Berengut et al. (2013) used the Fe/Ni V line measurements made by Preval et al. (2013) from the hot DA white dwarf G191-B2B, in an attempt to detect any variation in $\alpha$. It was found that the Fe V lines indicated an increasing alpha, whereas the Ni V lines indicated a decreasing alpha. Possible explanations for this could be misidentification of the lines, inaccurate atomic data, or wavelength dependent distortion in the spectrum. We examine the first two cases by using a high S/N reference spectrum from the hot sdO BD+28$^{\circ}$4211 to calibrate the Fe/Ni V atomic data. With this new data, we re-evaluate the work of Berengut et al. (2013) to derive a new constraint on the variation of alpha in a gravitational field.

The white dwarf cooling sequence of 47 Tucanae

47 Tucanae is one of the most interesting and well observed and theoretically studied globular clusters. This allows us to study the reliability of our understanding of white dwarf cooling sequences, to confront different methods to determine its age, and to assess other important characteristics, like its star formation history. Here we present a population synthesis study of the cooling sequence of the globular cluster 47 Tucanae. In particular, we study the distribution of effective temperatures, the shape of the color-magnitude diagram, and the corresponding magnitude and color distributions. We do so using an up-to-date population synthesis code based on Monte Carlo techniques, that incorporates the most recent and reliable cooling sequences and an accurate modeling of the observational biases. We find a good agreement between our theoretical models and the observed data. Thus, our study, rules out previous claims that there are still missing physics in the white dwarf cooling models at moderately high effective temperatures. We also derive the age of the cluster using the termination of the cooling sequence, obtaining a good agreement with the age determinations using the main-sequence turn-off. Finally, we find that the star formation history of the cluster is compatible with that btained using main sequence stars, which predict the existence of two distinct populations. We conclude that a correct modeling of the white dwarf population of globular clusters, used in combination with the number counts of main sequence stars provides an unique tool to model the properties of globular clusters.

Testing the planetary models of HU Aquarii

We present new eclipse observations of the polar (i.e. semi-detached magnetic white dwarf + M-dwarf binary) HU Aqr, and mid-egress times for each eclipse, which continue to be observed increasingly early. Recent eclipses occurred more than 70 seconds earlier than the prediction from the latest model that invoked a single circumbinary planet to explain the observed orbital period variations, thereby conclusively proving this model to be incorrect. Using ULTRACAM data, we show that mid-egress times determined for simultaneous data taken at different wavelengths agree with each other. The large variations in the observed eclipse times cannot be explained by planetary models containing up to three planets, because of poor fits to the data as well as orbital instability on short time scales. The peak-to-peak amplitude of the O-C diagram of almost 140 seconds is also too great to be caused by Applegate’s mechanism, movement of the accretion spot on the surface of the white dwarf, or by asynchronous rotation of the white dwarf. What does cause the observed eclipse time variations remains a mystery.

The substellar companion in the eclipsing white dwarf binary SDSS J141126.20+200911.1

We present high time resolution SDSS-$g’$ and SDSS-$z’$ light curves of the primary eclipse in SDSS J141126.20+200911.1, together with time-resolved X-Shooter spectroscopy and near-infrared $JHK_{s}$ photometry. Our observations confirm the substellar nature of the companion, making SDSS J141126.20+200911.1 the first eclipsing white dwarf/brown dwarf binary known. We measure a (white dwarf model dependent) mass and radius for the brown dwarf companion of $M_{2} = 0.050 \pm 0.002$ $M_{\odot}$ and $R_{2} = 0.072 \pm 0.004$ $M_{\odot}$, respectively. The lack of a robust detection of the companion light in the $z’$-band eclipse constrains the spectral type of the companion to be later than L5. Comparing the NIR photometry to the expected white dwarf flux reveals a clear $K_s$-band excess, suggesting a spectral type in the range L7-T1. The radius measurement is consistent with the predictions of evolutionary models, and suggests a system age in excess of three Gyr. The low companion mass is inconsistent with the inferred spectral type of L7-T1, instead predicting a spectral type nearer T5. This indicates that irradiation of the companion in SDSS J1411 could be causing a significant temperature increase, at least on one hemisphere.

Revealing the pulsational properties of the V777 Her star KUV 05134+2605 by its long-term monitoring

Context: KUV 05134+2605 is one of the 21 pulsating DB white dwarfs (V777 Her or DBV variables) known so far. The detailed investigation of the short-period and low-amplitude pulsations of these relatively faint targets requires considerable observational efforts from the ground, long-term single-site or multisite observations. The observed amplitudes of excited modes undergo short-term variations in many cases, which makes the determination of pulsation modes difficult. Methods: We re-analysed the data already published, and collected new measurements. We compared the frequency content of the different datasets from the different epochs and performed various tests to check the reliability of the frequency determinations. The mean period spacings were investigated with linear fits to the observed periods, Kolmogorov-Smirnov and Inverse Variance significance tests, and Fourier analysis of different period sets, including a Monte Carlo test simulating the effect of alias ambiguities. We employed fully evolutionary DB white dwarf models for the asteroseismic investigations. Results: We identified 22 frequencies between 1280 and 2530 microHz. These form 12 groups, which suggests at least 12 possible frequencies for the asteroseismic investigations. Thanks to the extended observations, KUV 05134+2605 joined the group of rich white dwarf pulsators. We identified one triplet and at least one doublet with a ~9 microHz frequency separation, from which we derived a stellar rotation period of 0.6 d. We determined the mean period spacings of ~31 and ~18 s for the modes we propose as dipole and quadrupole, respectively. We found an excellent agreement between the stellar mass derived from the l=1 period spacing and the period-to-period fits, all providing M_* = 0.84-0.85 M_Sun solutions. Our study suggests that KUV 05134+2605 is the most massive amongst the known V777 Her stars.

Fermi Establishes Classical Novae as a Distinct Class of Gamma-Ray Sources

A classical nova results from runaway thermonuclear explosions on the surface of a white dwarf that accretes matter from a low-mass main-sequence stellar companion. In 2012 and 2013, three novae were detected in gamma rays and stood in contrast to the first gamma-ray detected nova V407 Cygni 2010, which belongs to a rare class of symbiotic binary systems. Despite likely differences in the compositions and masses of their white dwarf progenitors, the three classical novae are similarly characterized as soft spectrum transient gamma-ray sources detected over 2-3 week durations. The gamma-ray detections point to unexpected high-energy particle acceleration processes linked to the mass ejection from thermonuclear explosions in an unanticipated class of Galactic gamma-ray sources.

ALMA and Herschel Observations of the Prototype Dusty and Polluted White Dwarf G29-38

ALMA Cycle 0 and Herschel PACS observations are reported for the prototype, nearest, and brightest example of a dusty and polluted white dwarf, G29-38. These long wavelength programs attempted to detect an outlying, parent population of bodies at 1-100 AU, from which originates the disrupted planetesimal debris that is observed within 0.01 AU and which exhibits L_IR/L = 0.039. No associated emission sources were detected in any of the data down to L_IR/L ~ 1e-4, generally ruling out cold dust masses greater than 1e24 – 1e25 g for reasonable grain sizes and properties in orbital regions corresponding to evolved versions of both asteroid and Kuiper belt analogs. Overall, these null detections are consistent with models of long-term collisional evolution in planetesimal disks, and the source regions for the disrupted parent bodies at stars like G29-38 may only be salient in exceptional circumstances, such as a recent instability. A larger sample of polluted white dwarfs, targeted with the full ALMA array, has the potential to unambiguously identify the parent source(s) of their planetary debris.

Hubble Space Telescope Imaging and Spectroscopy of the Sirius-Like Triple Star System HD 217411

We present Hubble Space Telescope imaging and spectroscopy of HD 217411, a G3 V star associated with the extreme ultraviolet excess source (EUV 2RE J2300-07.0). This star is revealed to be a triple system with a G 3V primary (HD 217411 A) separated by ~1.1" from a secondary that is in turn composed of an unresolved K0 V star (HD 217411 Ba) and a hot DA white dwarf (HD 217411 Bb). The hot white dwarf dominates the UV flux of the system. However; it is in turn dominated by the K0 V component beyond 3000 {\AA}. A revised distance of 143 pc is estimated for the system. A low level photometric modulation having a period of 0.61 days has also been observed in this system along with a rotational velocity on the order of 60 km s-1 in the K0 V star. Together both observations point to a possible wind induced spin up of the K0 V star during the AGB phase of the white dwarf. The nature of all three components is discussed as are constraints on the orbits, system age and evolution.

Radius constraints from high-speed photometry of 20 low-mass white dwarf binaries

We carry out high-speed photometry on 20 of the shortest-period, detached white dwarf binaries known and discover systems with eclipses, ellipsoidal variations (due to tidal deformations of the visible white dwarf), and Doppler beaming. All of the binaries contain low-mass white dwarfs with orbital periods less than 4 hr. Our observations identify the first eight tidally distorted white dwarfs, four of which are reported for the first time here, which we use to put empirical constraints on the mass-radius relationship for extremely low-mass (<0.30 Msun) white dwarfs. We also detect Doppler beaming in several of these binaries, which confirms the high-amplitude radial-velocity variability. All of these systems are strong sources of gravitational radiation, and long-term monitoring of those that display ellipsoidal variations can be used to detect spin-up of the tidal bulge due to orbital decay.

Early 56Ni decay {\gamma}-rays from SN2014J suggest an unusual explosion

Type-Ia supernovae result from binary systems that include a carbon-oxygen white dwarf, and these thermonuclear explosions typically produce 0.5 M_solar of radioactive 56Ni. The 56Ni is commonly believed to be buried deeply in the expanding supernova cloud. Surprisingly, in SN2014J we detected the lines at 158 and 812 keV from 56Ni decay ({\tau}~8.8 days) earlier than the expected several-week time scale, only ~20 days after the explosion, and with flux levels corresponding to roughly 10% of the total expected amount of 56Ni. Some mechanism must break the spherical symmetry of the supernova, and at the same time create a major amount of 56Ni at the outskirts. A plausible explanation is that a belt of helium from the companion star is accreted by the white dwarf, where this material explodes and then triggers the supernova event.

Early 56Ni decay {\gamma}-rays from SN2014J suggest an unusual explosion [Replacement]

Type-Ia supernovae result from binary systems that include a carbon-oxygen white dwarf, and these thermonuclear explosions typically produce 0.5 M_solar of radioactive 56Ni. The 56Ni is commonly believed to be buried deeply in the expanding supernova cloud. Surprisingly, in SN2014J we detected the lines at 158 and 812 keV from 56Ni decay ({\tau}~8.8 days) earlier than the expected several-week time scale, only ~20 days after the explosion, and with flux levels corresponding to roughly 10% of the total expected amount of 56Ni. Some mechanism must break the spherical symmetry of the supernova, and at the same time create a major amount of 56Ni at the outskirts. A plausible explanation is that a belt of helium from the companion star is accreted by the white dwarf, where this material explodes and then triggers the supernova event.

Revisiting the axion bounds from the Galactic white dwarf luminosity function [Replacement]

It has been shown that the shape of the luminosity function of white dwarfs (WDLF) is a powerful tool to check for the possible existence of DFSZ-axions, a proposed but not yet detected type of weakly interacting particles. With the aim of deriving new constraints on the axion mass, we compute in this paper new theoretical WDLFs on the basis of WD evolving models that incorporate for the feedback of axions on the thermal structure of the white dwarf. We find that the impact of the axion emission into the neutrino emission can not be neglected at high luminosities ($M_{\rm Bol}\lesssim 8$) and that the axion emission needs to be incorporated self-consistently into the evolution of the white dwarfs when dealing with axion masses larger than $m_a\cos^2\beta\gtrsim 5$ meV (i.e. axion-electron coupling constant $g_{ae}\gtrsim 1.4\times 10^{-13}$). We went beyond previous works by including 5 different derivations of the WDLF in our analysis. Then we have performed $\chi^2$-tests to have a quantitative measure of the assessment between the theoretical WDLFs —computed under the assumptions of different axion masses and normalization methods— and the observed WDLFs of the Galactic disk. While all the WDLF studied in this work disfavour axion masses in the range suggested by asteroseismology ($m_a\cos^2\beta\gtrsim 10$ meV; $g_{ae}\gtrsim 2.8\times 10^{-13}$) lower axion masses can not be discarded from our current knowledge of the WDLF of the Galactic Disk. A larger set of completely independent derivations of the WDLF of the galactic disk as well as a detailed study of the uncertainties of the theoretical WDLFs is needed before quantitative constraints on the axion-electron coupling constant can be made.

Revisiting the axion bounds from the Galactic white dwarf luminosity function [Cross-Listing]

It has been shown that the shape of the luminosity function of white dwarfs (WDLF) is a powerful tool to check for the possible existence of DFSZ-axions, a proposed but not yet detected type of weakly interacting particles. With the aim of deriving new constraints on the axion mass, we compute in this paper new theoretical WDLFs on the basis of WD evolving models that incorporate for the feedback of axions on the thermal structure of the white dwarf. We find that the impact of the axion emission into the neutrino emission can not be neglected at high luminosities ($M_{\rm Bol}\lesssim 8$) and that the axion emission needs to be incorporated self-consistently into the evolution of the white dwarfs when dealing with axion masses larger than $m_a\cos^2\beta\gtrsim 5$ meV (i.e. axion-electron coupling constant $g_{ae}\gtrsim 1.4\times 10^{-13}$). We went beyond previous works by including 5 different derivations of the WDLF in our analysis. Then we have performed $\chi^2$-tests to have a quantitative measure of the assessment between the theoretical WDLFs —computed under the assumptions of different axion masses and normalization methods— and the observed WDLFs of the Galactic disk. While all the WDLF studied in this work disfavour axion masses in the range suggested by asteroseismology ($m_a\cos^2\beta\gtrsim 10$ meV; $g_{ae}\gtrsim 2.8\times 10^{-13}$) lower axion masses can not be discarded from our current knowledge of the WDLF of the Galactic Disk. A larger set of completely independent derivations of the WDLF of the galactic disk as well as a detailed study of the uncertainties of the theoretical WDLFs is needed before quantitative constraints on the axion-electron coupling constant can be made.

Revisiting the axion bounds from the Galactic white dwarf luminosity function

It has been shown that the shape of the luminosity function of white dwarfs (WDLF) is a powerful tool to check for the possible existence of DFSZ-axions, a proposed but not yet detected type of weakly interacting particles. With the aim of deriving new constraints on the axion mass, we compute in this paper new theoretical WDLFs on the basis of WD evolving models that incorporate for the feedback of axions on the thermal structure of the white dwarf. We find that the impact of the axion emission into the neutrino emission can not be neglected at high luminosities ($M_{\rm Bol}\lesssim 8$) and that the axion emission needs to be incorporated self-consistently into the evolution of the white dwarfs when dealing with axion masses larger than $m_a\cos^2\beta\gtrsim 5$ meV (i.e. axion-electron coupling constant $g_{ae}\gtrsim 1.4\times 10^{-13}$). We went beyond previous works by including 5 different derivations of the WDLF in our analysis. Then we have performed $\chi^2$-tests to have a quantitative measure of the assessment between the theoretical WDLFs —computed under the assumptions of different axion masses and normalization methods— and the observed WDLFs of the Galactic disk. While all the WDLF studied in this work disfavour axion masses in the range suggested by asteroseismology ($m_a\cos^2\beta\gtrsim 10$ meV; $g_{ae}\gtrsim 2.8\times 10^{-13}$) lower axion masses can not be discarded from our current knowledge of the WDLF of the Galactic Disk. A larger set of completely independent derivations of the WDLF of the galactic disk as well as a detailed study of the uncertainties of the theoretical WDLFs is needed before quantitative constraints on the axion-electron coupling constant can be made.

Revisiting the axion bounds from the Galactic white dwarf luminosity function [Replacement]

It has been shown that the shape of the luminosity function of white dwarfs (WDLF) is a powerful tool to check for the possible existence of DFSZ-axions, a proposed but not yet detected type of weakly interacting particles. With the aim of deriving new constraints on the axion mass, we compute in this paper new theoretical WDLFs on the basis of WD evolving models that incorporate for the feedback of axions on the thermal structure of the white dwarf. We find that the impact of the axion emission into the neutrino emission can not be neglected at high luminosities ($M_{\rm Bol}\lesssim 8$) and that the axion emission needs to be incorporated self-consistently into the evolution of the white dwarfs when dealing with axion masses larger than $m_a\cos^2\beta\gtrsim 5$ meV (i.e. axion-electron coupling constant $g_{ae}\gtrsim 1.4\times 10^{-13}$). We went beyond previous works by including 5 different derivations of the WDLF in our analysis. Then we have performed $\chi^2$-tests to have a quantitative measure of the assessment between the theoretical WDLFs —computed under the assumptions of different axion masses and normalization methods— and the observed WDLFs of the Galactic disk. While all the WDLF studied in this work disfavour axion masses in the range suggested by asteroseismology ($m_a\cos^2\beta\gtrsim 10$ meV; $g_{ae}\gtrsim 2.8\times 10^{-13}$) lower axion masses can not be discarded from our current knowledge of the WDLF of the Galactic Disk. A larger set of completely independent derivations of the WDLF of the galactic disk as well as a detailed study of the uncertainties of the theoretical WDLFs is needed before quantitative constraints on the axion-electron coupling constant can be made.

The Signature of Single-Degenerate Accretion Induced Collapse [Replacement]

The accretion induced collapse (AIC) of a white dwarf to a neutron star has long been suggested as a natural theoretical outcome in stellar evolution, but there has never been a direct detection of such an event. This is not surprising since the small amount of radioactive nickel synthesized ($\sim10^{-3}\,M_\odot$) implies a relatively dim optical transient. Here we argue that a particularly strong signature of an AIC would occur for an oxygen-neon-magnesium (ONeMg) white dwarf accreting from a star that is experiencing Roche-lobe overflow as it becomes a red giant. In such cases, the $\sim10^{50}\,{\rm erg}$ explosion from the AIC collides with and shock-heats the surface of the extended companion, creating an X-ray flash lasting $\sim1\,{\rm hr}$ followed by an optical signature that peaks at an absolute magnitude of $\sim -16$ to $-18$ and lasts for a few days to a week. These events would be especially striking in old stellar environments where hydrogen-rich supernova-like, transients would not normally be expected. Although the rate of such events is not currently known, we describe observing strategies that could be utilized with high cadence surveys that should either detect these events or place strong constraints on their rates.

The Signature of Single-Degenerate Accretion Induced Collapse

The accretion induced collapse (AIC) of a white dwarf to a neutron star has long been suggested as a natural theoretical outcome in stellar evolution, but there has never been a direct detection of such an event. This is not surprising since the small amount of radioactive nickel synthesized ($\sim10^{-3}\,M_\odot$) implies a relatively dim optical transient. Here we argue that a particularly strong signature of an AIC would occur for an oxygen-neon-magnesium (ONeMg) white dwarf accreting from a star that is experiencing Roche-lobe overflow as it becomes a red giant. In such cases, the $\sim10^{50}\,{\rm erg}$ explosion from the AIC collides with and shock-heats the surface of the extended companion, creating an X-ray flash lasting $\sim1\,{\rm hr}$ followed by an optical signature that peaks at an absolute magnitude of $\sim -16$ to $-18$ and lasts for a few days to a week. These events would be especially striking in old stellar environments where hydrogen-rich supernova-like, transients would not normally be expected. Although the rate of such events is not currently known, we describe observing strategies that could be utilized with high cadence surveys that should either detect these events or place strong constraints on their rates.

A parameter study of the eclipsing CV in the Kepler field, KIS J192748.53+444724.5

We present high-speed, three-colour photometry of the eclipsing dwarf nova KIS J192748.53+444724.5 which is located in the Kepler field. Our data reveal sharp features corresponding to the eclipses of the accreting white dwarf followed by the bright spot where the gas stream joins the accretion disc. We determine the system parameters via a parameterized model of the eclipse fitted to the observed lightcurve. We obtain a mass ratio of q = 0.570 +/- 0.011 and an orbital inclination of 84.6 +/- 0.3 degrees. The primary mass is M_w = 0.69 +/- 0.07 Msun. The donor star’s mass and radius are found to be M_d = 0.39 +/- 0.04 Msun and R_d = 0.43 +/- 0.01 Rsun, respectively. From the fluxes of the white dwarf eclipse we find a white dwarf temperature of T_w = 23000 +/- 3000 K, and a photometric distance to the system of 1600 +/- 200 pc, neglecting the effects of interstellar reddening. The white dwarf temperature in KISJ1927 implies the white dwarf is accreting at an average rate of Mdot = (1.4 +/- 0.8) x10e-9 Msun/yr, in agreement with estimates of the secular mass loss rate from the donor.

A 1.05 $M_\odot$ Companion to PSR J2222-0137: The Coolest Known White Dwarf?

The recycled pulsar PSR J2222-0137 is one of the closest known neutron stars, with a parallax distance of $267_{-0.9}^{+1.2}\,$pc and an edge-on orbit. We measure the Shapiro delay in the system through pulsar timing with the Green Bank Telescope, deriving a low pulsar mass ($1.20\pm0.14$ $M_\odot$) and a high companion mass ($1.05\pm0.06$ $M_\odot$) consistent with either a low-mass neutron star or a high-mass white dwarf. We can largely reject the neutron star hypothesis on the basis of the system’s extremely low eccentricity (3e-4) – too low to have been the product of two supernovae under normal circumstances. However, despite deep optical and near-infrared searches with SOAR and the Keck telescopes we have not discovered the optical counterpart of the system. This is consistent with the white dwarf hypothesis only if the effective temperature is <3000 K, a limit that is robust to distance, mass, and atmosphere uncertainties. This would make the companion to PSR J2222-0137 one of the coolest white dwarfs ever observed. For the implied age to be consistent with the age of the Milky Way requires the white dwarf to have already crystallized and entered the faster Debye-cooling regime.

IP Eri: A surprising long-period binary system hosting a He white dwarf [Replacement]

We determine the orbital elements for the K0 IV + white dwarf (WD) system IP Eri, which appears to have a surprisingly long period of 1071 d and a significant eccentricity of 0.25. Previous spectroscopic analyses of the WD, based on a distance of 101 pc inferred from its Hipparcos parallax, yielded a mass of only 0.43 M$_\odot$, implying it to be a helium-core WD. The orbital properties of IP Eri are similar to those of the newly discovered long-period subdwarf B star (sdB) binaries, which involve stars with He-burning cores surrounded by extremely thin H envelopes, and are therefore close relatives to He WDs. We performed a spectroscopic analysis of high-resolution spectra from the HERMES/Mercator spectrograph and concluded that the atmospheric parameters of the K0 component are $T_{\rm eff} = 4960$ K, $\log{g} = 3.3$, [Fe/H] = 0.09 and $\xi = 1.5$ km/s. The detailed abundance analysis focuses on C, N, O abundances, carbon isotopic ratio, light (Na, Mg, Al, Si, Ca, Ti) and s-process (Sr, Y, Zr, Ba, La, Ce, Nd) elements. We conclude that IP Eri abundances agree with those of normal field stars of the same metallicity. The long period and non-null eccentricity indicate that this system cannot be the end product of a common-envelope phase; it calls instead for another less catastrophic binary-evolution channel presented in detail in a companion paper (Siess et al. 2014).

IP Eri: A surprising long-period binary system hosting a He white dwarf

We determine the orbital elements for the K0 IV + white dwarf (WD) system IP Eri, which appears to have a surprisingly long period of 1071 d and a significant eccentricity of 0.25. Previous spectroscopic analyses of the WD, based on a distance of 101 pc inferred from its Hipparcos parallax, yielded a mass of only 0.43 M$_\odot$, implying it to be a helium-core WD. The orbital properties of IP Eri are similar to those of the newly discovered long-period subdwarf B star (sdB) binaries, which involve stars with He-burning cores surrounded by extremely thin H envelopes, and are therefore close relatives to He WDs. We performed a spectroscopic analysis of high-resolution spectra from the HERMES/Mercator spectrograph and concluded that the atmospheric parameters of the K0 component are $T_{\rm eff} = 4960$ K, $\log{g} = 3.3$, [Fe/H] = 0.09 and $\xi = 1.5$ km/s. The detailed abundance analysis focuses on C, N, O abundances, carbon isotopic ratio, light (Na, Mg, Al, Si, Ca, Ti) and s-process (Sr, Y, Zr, Ba, La, Ce, Nd) elements. We conclude that IP Eri abundances agree with those of normal field stars of the same metallicity. The long period and non-null eccentricity indicate that this system cannot be the end product of a common-envelope phase; it calls instead for another less catastrophic binary-evolution channel presented in detail in a companion paper (Siess et al. 2014).

One possible solution of peculiar type Ia supernovae explosions caused by a charged white dwarf

Recently astrophysics observation reveals the existence of some super luminous type Ia supernovae. One natural explanation of such peculiar phenomenon is to require the progenitor of such supernova to be a highly super-Chandrasekhar mass white dwarf. Along this line, in this paper, we propose a possible mechanism to explain this phenomenon based on charged white dwarf. In particular, by choosing suitable new variables and a representative charge distribution, an analytic solution is obtained. The stability issue is also discussed, remarkably, it turns out that the charged white dwarf configuration can be dynamical stable. Moreover, we investigate the general relativistic effects and it is shown that the general relativistic effects can be negligible when the mass of charged white dwarf below about $3M_\odot$.

One possible solution of peculiar type Ia supernovae explosions caused by a charged white dwarf [Cross-Listing]

Recently astrophysics observation reveals the existence of some super luminous type Ia supernovae. One natural explanation of such peculiar phenomenon is to require the progenitor of such supernova to be a highly super-Chandrasekhar mass white dwarf. Along this line, in this paper, we propose a possible mechanism to explain this phenomenon based on charged white dwarf. In particular, by choosing suitable new variables and a representative charge distribution, an analytic solution is obtained. The stability issue is also discussed, remarkably, it turns out that the charged white dwarf configuration can be dynamical stable. Moreover, we investigate the general relativistic effects and it is shown that the general relativistic effects can be negligible when the mass of charged white dwarf below about $3M_\odot$.

One possible solution of peculiar type Ia supernovae explosions caused by a charged white dwarf [Replacement]

Recent astrophysics observation reveals the existence of some super luminous type Ia supernovae. One natural explanation of such a peculiar phenomenon is to require the progenitor of such a supernova to be a highly super-Chandrasekhar mass white dwarf. Along this line, in this paper, we propose a possible mechanism to explain this phenomenon based on a charged white dwarf. In particular, by choosing suitable new variables and a representative charge distribution, an analytic solution is obtained. The stability issue is also discussed, remarkably, it turns out that the charged white dwarf configuration can be dynamically stable. Moreover, we investigate the general relativistic effects and it is shown that the general relativistic effects can be negligible when the mass of the charged white dwarf is below about $3M_\odot$.

 

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