4,215 research outputs found

    Pure-hydrogen 3D model atmospheres of cool white dwarfs

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    A sequence of pure-hydrogen CO5BOLD 3D model atmospheres of DA white dwarfs is presented for a surface gravity of log g = 8 and effective temperatures from 6000 to 13,000 K. We show that convective properties, such as flow velocities, characteristic granulation size and intensity contrast of the granulation patterns, change significantly over this range. We demonstrate that these 3D simulations are not sensitive to numerical parameters unlike the 1D structures that considerably depend on the mixing-length parameters. We conclude that 3D spectra can be used directly in the spectroscopic analyses of DA white dwarfs. We confirm the result of an earlier preliminary study that 3D model spectra provide a much better characterization of the mass distribution of white dwarfs and that shortcomings of the 1D mixing-length theory are responsible for the spurious high-log g determinations of cool white dwarfs. In particular, the 1D theory is unable to account for the cooling effect of the convective overshoot in the upper atmospheres.Comment: 14 pages, 17 figures, accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysic

    Cool White Dwarfs Found in the UKIRT Infrared Deep Sky Survey

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    We present the results of a search for cool white dwarfs in the United Kingdom InfraRed Telescope (UKIRT) Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS) Large Area Survey (LAS). The UKIDSS LAS photometry was paired with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to identify cool hydrogen-rich white dwarf candidates by their neutral optical colors and blue near-infrared colors, as well as faint Reduced Proper Motion magnitudes. Optical spectroscopy was obtained at Gemini Observatory, and showed the majority of the candidates to be newly identified cool degenerates, with a small number of G- to K-type (sub)dwarf contaminants. Our initial search of 280 deg2 of sky resulted in seven new white dwarfs with effective temperature T_eff ~ 6000 K. The current followup of 1400 deg2 of sky has produced thirteen new white dwarfs. Model fits to the photometry show that seven of the newly identified white dwarfs have 4120 K <= T_eff <= 4480 K, and cooling ages between 7.3 Gyr and 8.7 Gyr; they have 40 km/s <= v_tan <= 85 km/s and are likely to be thick disk 10-11 Gyr-old objects. The other half of the sample has 4610 K <= T_eff <= 5260 K, cooling ages between 4.3 Gyr and 6.9 Gyr, and 60 km/s <= v_tan <= 100 km/s. These are either thin disk remnants with unusually high velocities, or lower-mass remnants of thick disk or halo late-F or G stars.Comment: To appear in ApJ, accepted April 18 2011. 34 pages include 11 Figures and 5 Table

    Granulation properties of giants, dwarfs, and white dwarfs from the CIFIST 3D model atmosphere grid

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    3D model atmospheres for giants, dwarfs, and white dwarfs, computed with the CO5BOLD code and part of the CIFIST grid, have been used for spectroscopic and asteroseismic studies. Unlike existing plane-parallel 1D structures, these simulations predict the spatially and temporally resolved emergent intensity so that granulation can be analysed, which provides insights on how convective energy transfer operates in stars. The wide range of atmospheric parameters of the CIFIST 3D simulations (3600 < Teff (K) < 13,000 and 1 < log g < 9) allows the comparison of convective processes in significantly different environments. We show that the relative intensity contrast is correlated with both the Mach and Peclet numbers in the photosphere. The horizontal size of granules varies between 3 and 10 times the local pressure scale height, with a tight correlation between the factor and the Mach number of the flow. Given that convective giants, dwarfs, and white dwarfs cover the same range of Mach and Peclet numbers, we conclude that photospheric convection operates in a very similar way in those objects.Comment: 16 pages, 17 figures, 37 pages online appendix, accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysic

    Spectroscopic analysis of DA white dwarfs with 3D model atmospheres

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    We present the first grid of mean three-dimensional (3D) spectra for pure-hydrogen (DA) white dwarfs based on 3D model atmospheres. We use CO5BOLD radiation-hydrodynamics 3D simulations instead of the mixing-length theory for the treatment of convection. The simulations cover the effective temperature range of 6000 < Teff (K) < 15,000 and the surface gravity range of 7 < log g < 9 where the large majority of DAs with a convective atmosphere are located. We rely on horizontally averaged 3D structures (over constant Rosseland optical depth) to compute spectra. It is demonstrated that our spectra can be smoothly connected to their 1D counterparts at higher and lower Teff where the 3D effects are small. Analytical functions are provided in order to convert spectroscopically determined 1D effective temperatures and surface gravities to 3D atmospheric parameters. We apply our improved models to well studied spectroscopic data sets from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the White Dwarf Catalog. We confirm that the so-called high-log g problem is not present when employing spectra and that the issue was caused by inaccuracies in the 1D mixing-length approach. The white dwarfs with a radiative and a convective atmosphere have derived mean masses that are the same within ~0.01 Msun, in much better agreement with our understanding of stellar evolution. Furthermore, the 3D atmospheric parameters are in better agreement with independent Teff and log g values from photometric and parallax measurements.Comment: 15 pages, 18 figures, 10 pages online appendix, accepted for publication in Astronomy and Astrophysic

    Infrared Photometric Analysis of White Dwarfs from The Two Micron All Sky Survey and the Spitzer Space Telescope

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    We review the available near- and mid-infrared photometry for white dwarfs obtained from the Two Micron All-Sky Survey (2MASS) and by the Spitzer Space Telescope. Both data sets have recently been used to seek white dwarfs with infrared excesses due to the presence of unresolved companions or circumstellar disks, and also to derive the atmospheric parameters of cool white dwarfs. We first attempt to evaluate the reliability of the 2MASS photometry by comparing it with an independent set of published JHK CIT magnitudes for 160 cool white dwarf stars, and also by comparing the data with the predictions of detailed model atmosphere calculations. The possibility of using 2MASS to identify unresolved M dwarf companions or circumstellar disks is then discussed. We also revisit the analysis of 46 binary candidates from Wachter et al. using the synthetic flux method and confirm the large near-infrared excesses in most objects. We perform a similar analysis by fitting Spitzer 4.5 and 8 micron photometric observations of white dwarfs with our grid of model atmospheres, and demonstrate the reliability of both the Spitzer data and the theoretical calculations up to 8 micron. Finally, we search for massive disks resulting from the merger of two white dwarfs in a 2MASS sample composed of 57 massive degenerates, and show that massive disks are uncommon in such stars.Comment: 41 pages, 9 figures, accepted for publication in the Astrophysical Journa

    Spectroscopic and photometric studies of white dwarfs in the Hyades

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    The Hyades cluster is known to harbour ten so-called classical white dwarf members. Numerous studies through the years have predicted that more than twice this amount of degenerate stars should be associated with the cluster. Using the PPMXL catalog of proper motions and positions, a recent study proposed 17 new white dwarf candidates. We review the membership of these candidates by using published spectroscopic and photometric observations, as well as by simulating the contamination from field white dwarfs. In addition to the ten classical Hyades white dwarfs, we find six white dwarfs that may be of Hyades origin and three more objects that have an uncertain membership status due to their unknown or imprecise atmospheric parameters. Among those, two to three are expected as field stars contamination. Accurate radial velocity measurements will confirm or reject the candidates. One consequence is that the longstanding problem that no white dwarf older than ~340 Myr appears to be associated with the cluster remains unsolved.Comment: 14 pages, 9 figures, accepted for publication in the Astronomy and Astrophysics journa
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