White Dwarfs (white + dwarf)

Distribution by Scientific Domains

Selected Abstracts

The dust-free symbiotic Mira K4,46 = LL Cas

U. Munari
ABSTRACT Accurate BVRCIC light and colour curves of the Mira variable in the dust-free symbiotic system K4,46 are presented and discussed. They cover several consecutive pulsations cycles. The Mira mean period is 284.2 d, the reddening sums to E(B,V) = 0.35 and the distance is 10 kpc. Absolute spectrophotometry at both maximum and minimum brightness of the Mira is presented. The rich emission line and continuum spectrum of the H ii region ionized by the hard radiation of the white dwarf dominates at Mira minimum. From its photoionization analysis, it is found that the H ii region extends to a radius of 210 au, has a mass 1.8 × 10,4 M, and it is ionized by a white dwarf of 158 000 K temperature and 0.06 R, radius, stably burning hydrogen at its surface. The derived [Fe/H]=,0.45 well match the ambient metallicity expected at K4,46 at its 15 kpc galactocentric distance, and the overabundances in N, Ne and He are those expected if the H ii region is fed by the wind of the Mira and polluted by nuclearly processed material lost by the white dwarf companion. [source]

PG 1258+593 and its common proper motion magnetic white dwarf counterpart

J. Girven
ABSTRACT We confirm SDSS J130033.48+590407.0 as a common proper motion companion to the well-studied hydrogen-atmosphere (DA) white dwarf PG 1258+593 (GD322). The system lies at a distance of 68 ± 3 pc, where the angular separation of 16.1 ± 0.1 arcsec corresponds to a minimum binary separation of 1091 ± 7 au. SDSS J1300+5904 is a cool (Teff= 6300 ± 300 K) magnetic white dwarf (B, 6 mG). PG 1258+593 is a DA white dwarf with Teff= 14790 ± 77 K and log g= 7.87 ± 0.02. Using the white dwarf mass,radius relation implies the masses of SDSS J1300+5904 and PG 1258+593 are 0.54 ± 0.06 and 0.54 ± 0.01 M,, respectively, and therefore a cooling age difference of 1.67 ± 0.05 Gyr. Adopting main-sequence lifetimes from stellar models, we derive an upper limit of 2.2 M, for the mass of the progenitor of PG 1258+593. A plausible range of initial masses is 1.4,1.8 M, for PG 1258+593 and 2,3 M, for SDSS J1300+5904. Our analysis shows that white dwarf common proper motion binaries can potentially constrain the white dwarf initial mass,final mass relation and the formation mechanism for magnetic white dwarfs. The magnetic field of SDSS J1300+5904 is consistent with an Ap progenitor star. A common envelope origin of the system cannot be excluded, but requires a triple system as progenitor. [source]

Near-infrared spectroscopy of the very low mass companion to the hot DA white dwarf PG 1234+482

P. R. Steele
ABSTRACT We present a near-infrared spectrum of the hot (Teff, 55 000 K) hydrogen atmosphere (DA) white dwarf PG 1234+482. We confirm that a very low mass companion is responsible for the previously recognized infrared photometric excess. We compare spectra of M and L dwarfs, combined with an appropriate white dwarf model, to the data to constrain the spectral type of the secondary. We find that uncertainties in the Two-Micron All-Sky Survey HK photometry of the white dwarf prevent us from distinguishing whether the secondary is stellar or substellar, and assign a spectral type of L0±1 (M9,L1).Therefore, this is the hottest and youngest (,106 yr) DA white dwarf with a possible brown dwarf companion. [source]

A thousand and one nova outbursts

Noya Epelstain
ABSTRACT A full nova cycle includes mass accretion, thermonuclear runaway resulting in outburst and mass-loss, and finally, decline. Resumed accretion starts a new cycle, leading to another outburst. Multicycle nova evolution models have been calculated over the past twenty years, the number being limited by numerical constraints. Here we present a long-term evolution code that enables a continuous calculation through an unlimited number of nova cycles for an unlimited evolution time, even up to 1.5 × 1010 yr. Starting with two sets of the three independent nova parameters , the white dwarf (WD) mass, the temperature of its isothermal core, and the rate of mass transfer on to it , we have followed the evolution of two models, with initial masses of 1 M, and 0.65 M, through over 1000 and over 3000 cycles, respectively. The accretion rate was assumed constant throughout each calculation: 10,11 M, yr,1 for the 1 M, WD, and 10,9 M, yr,1 for the 0.65 M, one. The initial temperatures were taken to be relatively high: 30 × 106 and 50 × 106 K, respectively, as they are likely to be at the onset of the outburst phase. The results show that although on the short-term consecutive outbursts are almost identical, on the long-term scale the characteristics change. This is mainly due to the changing core temperature, which decreases very similarly to that of a cooling WD for a time, but at a slower rate thereafter. As the WD's mass continually decreases, since both models lose more mass than they accrete, the central pressure decreases accordingly. The outbursts on the massive WD change gradually from fast to moderately fast, and the other characteristics (velocity, abundance ratios, isotopic ratios) change, too. Very slowly, a steady state is reached, where all characteristics, both in quiescence and in outburst, remain almost constant. For the less massive WD accreting at a high rate, outbursts are similar throughout the evolution. [source]

A new interpretation of the remarkable X-ray spectrum of the symbiotic star CH Cyg

Peter J. Wheatley
ABSTRACT We have re-analysed the ASCA X-ray spectrum of the bright symbiotic star CH Cyg, which exhibits apparently distinct hard and soft X-ray components. Our analysis demonstrates that the soft X-ray emission can be interpreted as scattering of the hard X-ray component in a photoionized medium surrounding the white dwarf. This is in contrast to previous analyses in which the soft X-ray emission was fitted separately and assumed to arise independently of the hard X-ray component. We note the striking similarity between the X-ray spectra of CH Cyg and Seyfert 2 galaxies, which are also believed to exhibit scattering in a photoionized medium. [source]

The white dwarf in AE Aqr brakes harder

Christopher W. Mauche
ABSTRACT Taking advantage of the very precise de Jager et al. optical white dwarf orbit and spin ephemerides; ASCA, XMM,Newton and Chandra X-ray observations spread over 10 yr; and a cumulative 27-yr baseline, we have found that in recent years the white dwarf in AE Aqr is spinning down at a rate that is slightly faster than predicted by the de Jager et al. spin ephemeris. At the present time, the observed period evolution is consistent with either a cubic term in the spin ephemeris with , which is inconsistent in sign and magnitude with magnetic dipole radiation losses, or an additional quadratic term with , which is consistent with a modest increase in the accretion torques spinning down the white dwarf. Regular monitoring, in the optical, ultraviolet and/or X-rays, is required to track the evolution of the spin period of the white dwarf in AE Aqr. [source]

A ZZ Ceti white dwarf in SDSS J133941.11+484727.5

B. T. Gänsicke
ABSTRACT We present time-resolved spectroscopy and photometry of the cataclysmic variable (CV) SDSS J133941.11+484727.5 (SDSS 1339) which has been discovered in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 4. The orbital period determined from radial velocity studies is 82.524(24) min, close to the observed period minimum. The optical spectrum of SDSS 1339 is dominated to 90 per cent by emission from the white dwarf (WD). The spectrum can be successfully reproduced by a three-component model (white dwarf, disc, secondary) with TWD=12 500 K for a fixed log g= 8.0, d= 170 pc, and a spectral type of the secondary later than M8. The mass-transfer rate corresponding to the optical luminosity of the accretion disc is very low, , 1.7 × 10,13 M, yr,1. Optical photometry reveals a coherent variability at 641 s with an amplitude of 0.025 mag, which we interpret as non-radial pulsations of the white dwarf. In addition, a long-period photometric variation with a period of either 320 or 344 min and an amplitude of 0.025 mag is detected, which bears no apparent relation with the orbital period of the system. Similar long-period photometric signals have been found in the CVs SDSS J123813.73,033933.0, SDSS J204817.85,061044.8, GW Lib and FS Aur, but so far no working model for this behaviour is available. [source]

A non-main-sequence secondary in SY Cancri

Robert Connon Smith
ABSTRACT Simultaneous spectroscopic and photometric observations of the Z Cam type dwarf nova SY Cancri were used to obtain absolute flux calibrations. A comparison of the photometric calibration with a wide-slit spectrophotometric calibration showed that either method is equally satisfactory. A radial velocity study of the secondary star, made using the far-red Na i doublet, yielded a semi-amplitude of K2= 127 ± 23 km s,1. Taking the published value of 86 ± 9 km s,1 for K1 gives a mass ratio of q=M2/M1= 0.68 ± 0.14; this is very different from the value of 1.13 ± 0.35 quoted in the literature. Using the new lower mass ratio, and constraining the mass of the white dwarf to be within reasonable limits, then leads to a mass for the secondary star that is substantially less than would be expected for its orbital period if it satisfied a main-sequence mass,radius relationship. We find a spectral type of M0 that is consistent with that expected for a main-sequence star of the low mass we have found. However, in order to fill its Roche lobe, the secondary must be significantly larger than a main-sequence star of that mass and spectral type. The secondary is definitely not a normal main-sequence star. [source]

Star cluster ecology , V. Dissection of an open star cluster: spectroscopy

Simon F. Portegies Zwart
ABSTRACT We have modelled in detail the evolution of rich open star clusters such as NGC 2516, NGC 2287, Pleiades, Praesepe, Hyades, NGC 2660 and 3680, using simulations that include stellar dynamics as well as the effects of stellar evolution. The dynamics is modelled via direct N -body integration, while the evolution of single stars and binaries is followed through the use of fitting formulae and recipes. The feedback of stellar and binary evolution on the dynamical evolution of the stellar system is taken into account self-consistently. Our model clusters dissolve in the tidal field of the Galaxy in a time-span of the order of a billion years. The rate of mass loss is rather constant, ,1 M, per million years. The binary fraction at first is nearly constant in time, then increases slowly near the end of a cluster's lifetime. For clusters which are more than about 108 yr old the fractions of stars in the form of binaries, giants and merger products in the inner few core radii are considerably higher than in the outer regions, beyond the cluster's half-mass radius. When stars with masses ,2 M, escape from the cluster, they tend to do so with velocities higher than average. The stellar merger rate in our models is roughly one per 30 million years. Most mergers are the result of unstable mass transfer in close binaries (,70 per cent), but a significant minority are caused by direct encounters between single and binary stars. While most mergers occur within the cluster core, even beyond the half-mass radius stellar mergers occasionally take place. We notice a significant birth rate of X-ray binaries, most containing a white dwarf as the mass acceptor. We also find one high-mass X-ray binary with a neutron-star accretor. If formed and retained, black holes participate in many (higher-order) encounters in the cluster centre, resulting in a large variety of exotic binaries. The persistent triple and higher-order systems formed in our models by dynamical encounters between binaries and single stars are not representative for the multiple systems observed in the Galactic disc. We conclude that the majority of multiples in the disc probably formed when the stars were born, rather than through later dynamical interactions. [source]

X-ray spectroscopy of the intermediate polar PQ Gem

Cynthia H. James
Abstract Using RXTE and ASCA data, we investigate the roles played by occultation and absorption in the X-ray spin pulse profile of the intermediate polar PQ Gem. From the X-ray light curves and phase-resolved spectroscopy, we find that the intensity variations are the result of a combination of varying degrees of absorption and the accretion regions rotating behind the visible face of the white dwarf. These occultation and absorption effects are consistent with those expected from the accretion structures calculated from optical polarization data. We can reproduce the changes in absorber covering fraction either from geometrical effects, or by considering that the material in the leading edge of the accretion curtain is more finely fragmented than in other parts of the curtain. We determine a white dwarf mass of , 1.2 using the RXTE data. [source]

On the evolution of the nova-like variable AE Aquarii

P. J. Meintjes
Abstract A possible evolution for the enigmatic cataclysmic variable AE Aquarii is considered that may put into context the long orbital period and short white dwarf rotation period compared with other DQ Her systems. It has been shown that mass transfer could have been initiated when the secondary KIV,V star was already somewhat evolved when it established Roche lobe contact. In this initial phase the orbital period of the system was probably Porb,i, 8.5 h, and the white dwarf rotation period P*,i > 1 h. Mass transfer in the form of diamagnetic gas blobs will result in an initial discless accretion process, resulting in an efficient drain of the binary orbital angular momentum. Since the initial mass ratio of the binary was probably qi, 0.8, a high mass transfer rate and a slow expansion of the Roche lobe of the secondary star followed, accompanied by a fast expanding secondary following the mass loss. This could have resulted in the KIV,V secondary flooding its Roche surface, causing a run-away mass transfer of that lasted for approximately , during which time the binary expanded to an orbital period of approximately Porb, 11 h. During this phase the mass accretion rate on to the surface of the white dwarf most probably exceeded the critical value for stable nuclear burning , which could have resulted in AE Aqr turning into an ultrasoft X-ray source. The high mass transfer terminated when a critical mass ratio of qcrit= 0.73 was reached. Disc torques spun-up the white dwarf to a period close to 33 s within the time-scale before the high mass transfer shut down when qcrit was reached. The decrease in the mass loss of the secondary allowed it to re-establish hydrostatic equilibrium on the dynamical time-scale (fraction of a day). From this point when qcrit is reached the mass transfer and binary evolution proceed at a slower rate since mass transfer from the secondary star is driven by magnetic braking of the secondary on a time-scale , which is the same as the thermal time-scale tth, 6.3 × 107 yr, i.e. the time-scale on which the secondary shrinks to restore its perturbed thermal equilibrium after the high mass loss. The significantly lower mass transfer in this phase will result in mass ejection from the system. This propeller,ejector action erodes the rotational kinetic energy of the white dwarf, channelling it into mass ejection and non-thermal activity, which explains the non-thermal outbursts that are observed at radio wavelengths and occasionally also at TeV energies. [source]

The mass of the white dwarf in the recurrent nova U Scorpii

T.D. Thoroughgood
We present spectroscopy of the eclipsing recurrent nova U Sco. The radial velocity semi-amplitude of the primary star was found to be from the motion of the wings of the He ii,4686-Å emission line. By detecting weak absorption features from the secondary star, we find its radial velocity semi-amplitude to be . From these parameters, we obtain a mass of for the white dwarf primary star and a mass of for the secondary star. The radius of the secondary is calculated to be , confirming that it is evolved. The inclination of the system is calculated to be , consistent with the deep eclipse seen in the light-curves. The helium emission lines are double-peaked, with the blueshifted regions of the disc being eclipsed prior to the redshifted regions, clearly indicating the presence of an accretion disc. The high mass of the white dwarf is consistent with the thermonuclear runaway model of recurrent nova outbursts, and confirms that U Sco is the best Type Ia supernova progenitor currently known. We predict that U Sco is likely to explode within ,700 000 yr. [source]

Expanding atmosphere models for SSS spectra of novae

D.R. van Rossum
Abstract Super Soft Source (SSS) spectra are powered by nuclear burning on the surface of a white dwarf. The released energy causes a radiatively-driven wind that leads to a radially extended atmosphere around the white dwarf. Significant blue shifts in photospheric absorption lines are found in the spectra of novae during their SSS phase, being an evidence of continued mass loss in this phase. We present spherically symmetric PHOENIX models that account for the expansion of the ejecta. A comparison to a plane parallel, hydrostatic atmosphere model demonstrates that the mass loss can have a significant impact on the model spectra. The dynamic model yields less pronounced absorption edges, and harder X-ray spectra are the result. Therefore, lower effective temperatures are needed to explain the observed spectra. Although both types of models are yet to be fine-tuned in order to accurately determine best fit parameters, the implications on the chemical abundances are going in opposite directions. With the expanding models the requirement for strong depletion of the crucial elements that cause these edges is now avoidable (© 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]

Observational evidence for expansion in the SSS spectra of novae

J.-U. Ness
Abstract For several novae, a bright X-ray source with a spectrum resembling the class of Super Soft X-ray Sources (SSS) has been observed a few weeks to months after outburst. Novae are powered by explosive nuclear burning on the surface of a white dwarf, and enough energy is produced to power a radiatively driven wind. Owing to the evolution of the opacity of the ejecta, the observable spectrum gradually shifts from optical to soft X-rays (SSS phase). It has sometimes been assumed that at the beginning of the SSS phase no more mass loss occurs. However, high-resolution X-ray spectra of some novae have shown highly blue-shifted absorption lines, indicating a significant expansion. In this paper, I show that all novae that have been observed with X-ray gratings during their SSS phase show significant blue shifts. I argue that all models that attempt to explain the X-ray bright SSS phase have to accommodate the continued expansion of the ejecta (© 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]

Beginning of the super-soft phase of the classical nova V2491 Cygni

D. Takei
Abstract We present the results of soft X-ray studies of the classical nova V2491 Cygni using the Suzaku observatory. On day 29 after outburst, a soft X-ray component with a peak at ,0.5 keV has appeared, which is tantalising evidence for the beginning of the super-soft X-ray emission phase. We show that an absorbed blackbody model can describe the observed spectra, yielding a temperature of 57 eV, neutral hydrogen column density of 2 × 1021 cm,2, and a bolometric luminosity of ,1036 erg s,1. However, at the same time, we also found a good fit with an absorbed thin-thermal plasma model, yielding a temperature of 0.1 keV, neutral hydrogen column density of 4 × 1021 cm,2, and a volume emission measure of ,1058 cm,3. Owing to low spectral resolution and low signal-to-noise ratio below 0.6 keV, the statistical parameter uncertainties are large, but the ambiguity of the two very different models demonstrates that the systematic errors are the main point of concern. The thin-thermal plasma model implies that the soft emission originates from optically thin ejecta, while the blackbody model suggests that we are seeing optically thick emission from the white dwarf (© 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]

X-ray emission from optical novae in M 31,

W. Pietsch
Abstract The first supersoft source (SSS) identification with an optical nova in M 31 was based on ROSAT observations. Twenty additional X-ray counterparts (mostly identified as SSS by their hardness ratios) were detected using archival ROSAT, XMM-Newton and Chandra observations obtained before July 2002. Based on these results optical novae seem to constitute the major class of SSS in M 31. An analysis of archival Chandra HRC-I and ACIS-I observations obtained from July 2004 to February 2005 demonstrated that M 31 nova SSS states lasted from months to about 10 years. Several novae showed short X-ray outbursts starting within 50 d after the optical outburst and lasting only two to three months. The fraction of novae detected in soft X-rays within a year after the optical outburst was more than 30%. Ongoing optical nova monitoring programs, optical spectral follow-up and an up-to-date nova catalogue are essential for the X-ray work. Re-analysis of archival nova data to improve positions and find additional nova candidates are urgently needed for secure recurrent nova identifications. Dedicated XMM-Newton/Chandra monitoring programs for X-ray emission from optical novae covering the centre area of M 31 continue to provide interesting new results (e.g. coherent 1105 s pulsations in the SSS counterpart of nova M31N 2007-12b). The SSS light curves of novae allow us , together with optical information , to estimate the mass of the white dwarf, of the ejecta and the burned mass in the outburst. Observations of the central area of M 31 allow us , in contrast to observations in the Galaxy , to monitor many novae simultaneously and proved to be prone to find many interesting SSS and nova types (© 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]

V5116 Sgr: A disc-ecipsed SSS post-outburst nova?,

G. Sala
Abstract Nova V5116 Sgr 2005 No. 2, discovered on 2005 July 4, was observed with XMM-Newton in March 2007, 20 months after the optical outburst. The X-ray spectrum showed that the nova had evolved to a pure supersoft X-ray source, indicative of residual H-burning on top of the white dwarf. The X-ray light-curve shows abrupt decreases and increases of the flux by a factor 8 with a periodicity of 2.97 h, consistent with the possible orbital period of the system. The EPIC spectra are well fit with an ONe white dwarf atmosphere model, with the same temperature both in the low and the high flux periods. This rules out an intrinsic variation of the X-ray source as the origin of the flux changes, and points to a possible partial eclipse as the origin of the variable light curve. The RGS high resolution spectra support this scenario showing a number of emission features in the low flux state, which either disappear or change into absorption features in the high flux state. A new XMM-Newton observation in March 2009 shows the SSS had turned off and V51 16 Sgr had evolved into a weaker and harder X-ray source (© 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]

Probing small scale structure in the atmosphere of V471 Tauri

F. M. Walter
Abstract The white dwarf in the eclipsing binary system V471 Tau is viewed through the atmosphere of the active K star prior to ingress and after egress. In the far UV the surface brightness of the hot white dwarf far outshines the K star emission. We can use this to probe the structure of the extended K star atmosphere along one line of sight, in absorption, on spatial scales of the radius of the white dwarf (10,000 km). The time series of HST/STIS spectra which show a hot (>250,000 K) extended (>1 K star radius) atmosphere around the K star. We see discrete structures in the velocity-resolved spectra, on spatial scales of less than 100,000 km. The mean velocity is that expected of gas in co-rotation with the K star, but the discrete velocity structures have excursions of up to 70 km/s from the mean. The mean temperature seems to increase with height above the K star photosphere. (© 2004 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim) [source]

PG 1258+593 and its common proper motion magnetic white dwarf counterpart

J. Girven
ABSTRACT We confirm SDSS J130033.48+590407.0 as a common proper motion companion to the well-studied hydrogen-atmosphere (DA) white dwarf PG 1258+593 (GD322). The system lies at a distance of 68 ± 3 pc, where the angular separation of 16.1 ± 0.1 arcsec corresponds to a minimum binary separation of 1091 ± 7 au. SDSS J1300+5904 is a cool (Teff= 6300 ± 300 K) magnetic white dwarf (B, 6 mG). PG 1258+593 is a DA white dwarf with Teff= 14790 ± 77 K and log g= 7.87 ± 0.02. Using the white dwarf mass,radius relation implies the masses of SDSS J1300+5904 and PG 1258+593 are 0.54 ± 0.06 and 0.54 ± 0.01 M,, respectively, and therefore a cooling age difference of 1.67 ± 0.05 Gyr. Adopting main-sequence lifetimes from stellar models, we derive an upper limit of 2.2 M, for the mass of the progenitor of PG 1258+593. A plausible range of initial masses is 1.4,1.8 M, for PG 1258+593 and 2,3 M, for SDSS J1300+5904. Our analysis shows that white dwarf common proper motion binaries can potentially constrain the white dwarf initial mass,final mass relation and the formation mechanism for magnetic white dwarfs. The magnetic field of SDSS J1300+5904 is consistent with an Ap progenitor star. A common envelope origin of the system cannot be excluded, but requires a triple system as progenitor. [source]

Distant future of the Sun and Earth revisited

K.-P. Schröder
ABSTRACT We revisit the distant future of the Sun and the Solar system, based on stellar models computed with a thoroughly tested evolution code. For the solar giant stages, mass loss by the cool (but not dust-driven) wind is considered in detail. Using the new and well-calibrated mass-loss formula of Schröder & Cuntz, we find that the mass lost by the Sun as a red giant branch (RGB) giant (0.332 M,, 7.59 Gyr from now) potentially gives planet Earth a significant orbital expansion, inversely proportional to the remaining solar mass. According to these solar evolution models, the closest encounter of planet Earth with the solar cool giant photosphere will occur during the tip-RGB phase. During this critical episode, for each time-step of the evolution model, we consider the loss of orbital angular momentum suffered by planet Earth from tidal interaction with the giant Sun, as well as dynamical drag in the lower chromosphere. As a result of this, we find that planet Earth will not be able to escape engulfment, despite the positive effect of solar mass loss. In order to survive the solar tip-RGB phase, any hypothetical planet would require a present-day minimum orbital radius of about 1.15 au. The latter result may help to estimate the chances of finding planets around white dwarfs. Furthermore, our solar evolution models with detailed mass-loss description predict that the resulting tip-AGB (asymptotic giant branch) giant will not reach its tip-RGB size. Compared to other solar evolution models, the main reason is the more significant amount of mass lost already in the RGB phase of the Sun. Hence, the tip-AGB luminosity will come short of driving a final, dust-driven superwind, and there will be no regular solar planetary nebula (PN). The tip-AGB is marked by a last thermal pulse, and the final mass loss of the giant may produce a circumstellar (CS) shell similar to, but rather smaller than, that of the peculiar PN IC 2149 with an estimated total CS shell mass of just a few hundredths of a solar mass. [source]

Seismological studies of ZZ Ceti stars , I. The model grid and the application to individual stars

B. G. Castanheira
ABSTRACT We calculate and explore an extensive adiabatic model grid for pulsating white dwarfs with hydrogen-dominated atmospheres, the ZZ Ceti stars. We also compared the computed modes with the observed ones for five ZZ Ceti stars that are a representative sample of the whole class of pulsators. We describe our new approach for seismological studies, using the relative observed amplitudes to give weights for the periods in the fit and the external mass and temperature determinations as a guide. Our seismological study is clear evidence that seismology is indeed a powerful tool in the study of stellar structure and evolution. [source]

Full evolution of low-mass white dwarfs with helium and oxygen cores

J. A. Panei
ABSTRACT We study the full evolution of low-mass white dwarfs with helium and oxygen cores. We revisit the age dichotomy observed in many white dwarf companions to millisecond pulsar on the basis of white dwarf configurations derived from binary evolution computations. We evolve 11 dwarf sequences for helium cores with final masses of 0.1604, 0.1869, 0.2026, 0.2495, 0.3056, 0.3333, 0.3515, 0.3844, 0.3986, 0.4160 and 0.4481 M,. In addition, we compute the evolution of five sequences for oxygen cores with final masses of 0.3515, 0.3844, 0.3986, 0.4160 and 0.4481 M,. A metallicity of Z= 0.02 is assumed. Gravitational settling, chemical and thermal diffusion are accounted for during the white dwarf regime. Our study reinforces the result that diffusion processes are a key ingredient in explaining the observed age and envelope dichotomy in low-mass helium-core white dwarfs, a conclusion we arrived at earlier on the basis of a simplified treatment for the binary evolution of progenitor stars. We determine the mass threshold where the age dichotomy occurs. For the oxygen white dwarf sequences, we report the occurrence of diffusion-induced, hydrogen-shell flashes, which, as in the case of their helium counterparts, strongly influence the late stages of white dwarf cooling. Finally, we present our results as a set of white dwarf mass,radius relations for helium and oxygen cores. [source]

Optical spectroscopy of high proper motion stars: new M dwarfs within 10 pc and the closest pair of subdwarfs

C. Reylé
ABSTRACT We present spectra of 59 nearby star candidates, M dwarfs and white dwarfs, previously identified using high proper motion catalogues and the DENIS database. We review the existing spectral classification schemes and spectroscopic parallax calibrations in the near-infrared J band and derive spectral types and distances of the nearby candidates. Forty-two stars have spectroscopic distances smaller than 25 pc, three of them being white dwarfs. Two targets lie within 10 pc, one M8 star at 10.0 pc (APMPM J0103,3738), and one M4 star at 8.3 pc (L 225,57). One star, LHS 73, is found to be among the few subdwarfs lying within 20 pc. Furthermore, together with LHS 72, it probably belongs to the closest pair of subdwarfs we know. [source]

A search for binarity using Far-Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer observations of DAO white dwarfs

S. A. Good
ABSTRACT We report on a search for evidence of binarity in Far-Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) observations of DAO white dwarfs. Spectra recorded by FUSE are built up from a number of separate exposures. Observation of changes in the position of photospheric heavy element absorption lines between exposures, with respect to the stationary interstellar medium lines, would reveal radial velocity changes , evidence of the presence of a binary system. This technique is successful in picking out all the white dwarfs already known to be binaries, which comprise five out of the sample of 16, but significant radial velocity shifts were found for only one additional star, Ton 320. This object is also known to have an infrared excess. DAOs can be separated broadly into low- or normal-mass objects. Low-mass white dwarfs can be formed as a result of binary evolution, but it has been suggested that the lower mass DAOs evolve as single stars from the extended horizontal branch, and we find no evidence of binarity for eight out of the 12 white dwarfs with relatively low mass. The existence of higher mass DAOs can also be explained if they are within binary systems, but of the four higher mass stars in the sample studied, PG 1210+533 and LB 2 do not exhibit significant radial velocity shifts, although there were only two exposures for the former object, and the latter has an infrared excess. [source]

Magnetic fields in white dwarfs and stellar evolution

Christopher A. Tout
ABSTRACT The surface magnetic field strengths observed in the magnetic Ap, Bp stars (100,20 000 G) and in the high field magnetic white dwarfs (106,109 G) cover many decades but nevertheless the range of magnetic fluxes observed in each of these stellar groups is similar. An evolutionary link between them therefore appears plausible. For both groups of stars there is also information on field complexity. The magnetic white dwarfs in general show non-dipole field structures which can be best modelled if we assume contributions from higher order multipoles. The field structures of the Ap and Bp stars are similarly complex. We investigate the hypothesis that the magnetic fields of the white dwarfs could be fossil remnants from the main-sequence phase by focussing on the problem of how field complexity may arise and be maintained during evolution to the compact star state. We also address the question of to what extent magnetic fields seen in the early type stars could be fossil remnants from the pre-main-sequence phases of stellar evolution dating back perhaps to the time of star formation. [source]

Dynamical limits on galactic winds, halo MACHOs and intergalactic globular clusters

HongSheng Zhao
Abstract We argue that any violent galactic winds following the early epoch of starbursts will significantly weaken the potentials of galaxies, and leave lasting signatures such as a lowered dark halo density and preferentially radial/escaping orbits for halo tracers such as globular clusters. A galaxy is disintegrated if more than half of its dynamical mass is blown off. The presence of dense haloes in galaxies and the absence of intergalactic/escaping globulars should imply an upper limit on the amount of baryons lost in galactic winds of around 4 per cent of the total mass of the galaxy. This translates to limits on the baryons participating in the early starbursts and baryons locked in stellar remnants, such as white dwarfs. The numbers of halo white dwarfs claimed in recent proper motion searches and microlensing observations in the Galactic halo are too high to be consistent with our dynamical upper limits. Similar arguments also imply upper limits for the number of neutron stars and stellar black holes in galaxy haloes. Nevertheless, a milder outflow is desirable, especially in dwarf galaxies, both to lower their cold dark matter central density and to inject metals into the intergalactic medium. [source]

X-ray beaming caused by resonance scattering in the accretion column of magnetic cataclysmic variables

Y. Terada
Extremely strong ionized Fe emission lines, with equivalent widths reaching ,4000 eV, were discovered by ASCA from a few Galactic compact objects, including AX J2315,0592, RX J1802.1+1804 and AX J1842.8,0423. These objects are thought to be binary systems containing magnetized white dwarfs (WDs). A possible interpretation of the strong Fe K line is the line-photon collimation in the WD accretion column, as a result of resonance scattering of line photons. The collimation occurs when the accretion column has a flat shape, and the effect is augmented by the vertical velocity gradient, which reduces the resonant trapping of resonant photons along the magnetic field lines. This effect was quantitatively confirmed with Monte Carlo simulations. Furthermore, with ASCA observations of the polar V834 Centauri, this collimation effect was clearly detected as a rotational modulation of the equivalent width of the Fe K emission line. The extremely strong emission lines mentioned above can be explained consistently by our interpretation. Combining this effect with other X-ray information, the geometry and plasma parameters in the accretion column were determined. [source]

A comparison of DA white dwarf temperatures and gravities from Lyman and Balmer line studies

M.A. Barstow
We present measurements of the effective temperatures and surface gravities for a sample of hot DA white dwarfs, using the Lyman line data available from the HUT, ORFEUS and FUSE FUV space missions. Comparing the results with those from the standard Balmer line technique, we find that there is a general good overall agreement between the two methods. However, significant differences are found for a number of stars, but not always of a consistent nature in that sometimes the Balmer temperature exceeds that derived from the Lyman lines and in other instances it is lower. We conclude that, with the latest model atmosphere calculations, these discrepancies probably do not arise from an inadequate theoretical treatment of the Lyman lines but rather from systematic effects in the observation and data reduction processes, which dominate the statistical errors in these spectra. If these systematic data reduction effects can be adequately controlled, the Lyman line temperature and gravity measurements are consistent with those obtained from the Balmer lines when allowance is made for reasonable observational uncertainties. [source]

Radial velocity measurements of white dwarfs

P. F. L. Maxted
We present 594 radial velocity measurements for 71 white dwarfs obtained during our search for binary white dwarfs and not reported elsewhere. We identify three excellent candidate binaries, which require further observations to confirm our preliminary estimates for their orbital periods, and one other good candidate. We investigate whether our data support the existence of a population of single, low-mass (,0.5 M,) white dwarfs (LMWDs). These stars are difficult to explain using standard models of stellar evolution. We find that a model with a mixed single/binary population is at least ~20 times more likely to explain our data than a pure binary population. This result depends on assumed period distributions for binary LMWDs, assumed companion masses and several other factors. Therefore, the evidence in favour of the existence of a population of single LMWDs is not sufficient, in our opinion, to firmly establish the existence of such a population, but does suggest that extended observations of LMWDs to obtain a more convincing result would be worthwhile. [source]

New pulsating white dwarfs in cataclysmic variables,

R. Nilsson
ABSTRACT The number of discovered non-radially pulsating white dwarfs (WDs) in cataclysmic variables (CVs) is increasing rapidly by the aid of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). We performed photometric observations of two additional objects, SDSS J133941.11+484727.5 (SDSS 1339), independently discovered as a pulsator by Gänsicke et al., and SDSS J151413.72+454911.9, which we identified as a CV/ZZ Ceti hybrid. In this Letter we present the results of the remote observations of these targets performed with the Nordic Optical Telescope (NOT) during the Nordic,Baltic Research School at Mol,tai Observatory, and follow-up observations executed by NOT in service mode. We also present three candidates we found to be non-pulsating. The results of our observations show that the main pulsation frequencies agree with those found in previous CV/ZZ Ceti hybrids, but specifically for SDSS 1339 the principal period differs slightly between individual observations and also from the recent independent observation by Gänsicke et al. Analysis of SDSS colour data for the small sample of pulsating and non-pulsating CV/ZZ Ceti hybrids found so far seems to indicate that the r,i colour could be a good marker for the instability strip of this class of pulsating WDs. [source]