538 research outputs found

    The age of white dwarf companions

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    Original paper can be found at: http://www.iop.org/EJ/conf DOI: 10.1088/1742-6596/172/1/012019 [16th European White Dwarfs Workshop]We carried out a spectroscopic investigation of single lined white dwarfs (WDs) in double degenerate (DD) systems and discuss their binary evolution. Simulated spectra of the Hα region are used to derive upper limits on the temperature of the invisible component and thus lower limits on the cooling age. This is done for a range of hypothetical secondary masses and a minimum cooling age deduced. Results are compared with the well known parameters of the visible primary, which allows us to determine a lower limit for the cooling age difference of both WDs. Most of the ten systems in our sample have a minimum age difference of not larger than 0.5 Gyr and their small orbital separation is highly suggestive of at least one unstable mass transfer phase. However, a stable first mass transfer phase is feasible as the age difference is less then 1 Gyr. The results imply that unstable mass transfer is the most likely final contact binary scenario to have occurred in DD systems but the first mass transfer phase is not constrained.Peer reviewe

    Indications of a Large Fraction of Spectroscopic Binaries Among Nuclei of Planetary Nebulae

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    Previous work indicates that about 10% of planetary-nebula nuclei (PNNi) are photometrically variable short-period binaries with periods of hours to a few days. These systems have most likely descended from common-envelope (CE) interactions in initially much wider binaries. Population-synthesis studies suggest that these very close pairs could be the short-period tail of a much larger post-CE binary population with periods of up to a few months. We have initiated a radial-velocity (RV) survey of PNNi with the WIYN 3.5-m telescope and Hydra spectrograph, which is aimed at discovering these intermediate-period binaries. We present initial results showing that 10 out of 11 well-observed PNNi have variable RVs, suggesting that a significant binary population may be present. However, further observations are required because we have as yet been unable to fit our sparse measurements with definite orbital periods, and because some of the RV variability might be due to variations in the stellar winds of some of our PNNi.Comment: 11 pages, 1 table, no figures. Accepted by the Astrophysical Journal Letter

    Binary sdB Stars with Massive Compact Companions

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    Original paper can be found at: http://astrosociety.org/pubs/cs/381.html Copyright ASPThe masses of compact objects like white dwarfs, neutron stars and black holes are fundamental to astrophysics, but very difficult to measure. We present the results of an analysis of subluminous B (sdB) stars in close binary systems with unseen compact companions to derive their masses and clarify their nature. Radial velocity curves were obtained from time resolved spectroscopy. The atmospheric parameters were determined in a quantitative spectral analysis. Based on high resolution spectra we were able to measure the projected rotational velocity of the stars with high accuracy. In the distribution of projected rotational velocities signs of tidal locking with the companions are visible. By detecting ellipsoidal variations in the lightcurve of an sdB binary we were able to show that subdwarf binaries with orbital periods up to 0.6 d are most likely synchronized. In this case, the inclination angles and companion masses of the binaries can be tightly constrained. Five invisible companions have masses that are compatible with that of normal white dwarfs or late type main sequence stars. However, four sdBs have compact companions massive enough to be heavy white dwarfs (> 1M⊙), neutron stars or even black holes. Such a high fraction of massive compact companions is not expected from current models of binary evolution

    The mass and radius of the M-dwarf in the short period eclipsing binary RR Caeli

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    We present new photometry and spectroscopy of the eclipsing white dwarf - M-dwarf binary star RR Cae. We use timings of the primary eclipse from white-light photo-electric photometry to derive a new ephemeris for the eclipses. We find no evidence for any period change greater than Pdot/P ~ 5E-12 over a timescale of 10 years. We have measured the effective temperature of the white dwarf, T_WD, from an analysis of two high resolution spectra of RR Cae and find T_WD = (7540 +- 175)K. We estimate a spectral type of M4 for the companion from the same spectra. We have combined new spectroscopic orbits for the white dwarf and M-dwarf with an analysis of the primary eclipse and cooling models for helium white dwarfs to measure the mass and radius of the M-dwarf. The mass of the M-dwarf is (0.182 - 0.183) +- 0.013 Msun and the radius is (0.203 - 0.215) +- 0.013 Rsun, where the ranges quoted for these values reflect the range of white dwarf models used. In contrast to previous studies, which lacked a spectroscopic orbit for the white dwarf, we find that the mass and radius of the M-dwarf are normal for an M4 dwarf. The mass of the white dwarf is (0.440 +-0.022) Msun. With these revised masses and radii we find that RR Cae will become a cataclysmic variable star when the orbital period is reduced from its current value of 7.3 hours to 121 minutes by magnetic braking in 9-20 Gyr. We note that there is night-to-night variability of a few seconds in the timing of primary eclipse caused by changes to the shape of the primary eclipse. We speculate as to the possible causes of this phenomenon. (Abridged)Comment: Accepted for publication in MNRAS. The paper contains 10 figures and 3 table

    Evolved solar systems in Praesepe

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    "Copyright 2011 American Institute of Physics. This article may be downloaded for personal use only. Any other use requires prior permission of the author and the American Institute of Physics." Original paper can be found at: http://scitation.aip.org/"We have obtained near-IR photometry for the 11 Praesepe white dwarfs, to search for an excess indicative of a dusty debris disk. All the white dwarfs are in the DAZ temperature regime, however we find no indications of a disk around any white dwarf. We have, however determined that the radial velocity variable white dwarf WD0837+185 could have an unresolved T8 dwarf companion that would not be seen as a near-IR excess.Final Accepted Versio