Wednesday, June 19, 2013

1306.4024 (J. J. Hermes et al.)

Discovery of an ultramassive pulsating white dwarf    [PDF]

J. J. Hermes, S. O. Kepler, Barbara G. Castanheira, A. Gianninas, D. E. Winget, M. H. Montgomery, Warren R. Brown, Samuel T. Harrold
We announce the discovery of the most massive pulsating hydrogen-atmosphere (DA) white dwarf (WD) ever discovered, GD 518. Model atmosphere fits to the optical spectrum of this star show it is a 12,030 +/- 210 K WD with a log(g) = 9.08 +/- 0.06, which corresponds to a mass of 1.20 +/- 0.03 Msun. Stellar evolution models indicate that the progenitor of such a high-mass WD endured a stable carbon-burning phase, producing an oxygen-neon-core WD. The discovery of pulsations in GD 518 thus offers the first opportunity to probe the interior of a WD with a possible oxygen-neon core. Such a massive WD should also be significantly crystallized at this temperature. The star exhibits multi-periodic luminosity variations at timescales ranging from roughly 425-595 s and amplitudes up to 0.7%, consistent in period and amplitude with the observed variability of typical ZZ Ceti stars, which exhibit non-radial g-mode pulsations driven by a hydrogen partial ionization zone. Successfully unraveling both the total mass and core composition of GD 518 provides a unique opportunity to investigate intermediate-mass stellar evolution, and can possibly place an upper limit to the mass of a carbon-oxygen-core WD, which in turn constrains SNe Ia progenitor systems.
View original:

No comments:

Post a Comment