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Chemical Abundance Constraints on White Dwarfs as Halo Dark Matter  [PDF]
Brian D. Fields,Katherine Freese,David S. Graff
Physics , 1999, DOI: 10.1086/308727
Abstract: We examine the chemical abundance constraints on a population of white dwarfs in the Halo of our Galaxy. We are motivated by microlensing evidence for massive compact halo objects (Machos) in the Galactic Halo, but our work constrains white dwarfs in the Halo regardless of what the Machos are. We focus on the composition of the material that would be ejected as the white dwarfs are formed; abundance patterns in the ejecta strongly constrain white dwarf production scenarios. Using both analytical and numerical chemical evolution models, we confirm that very strong constraints come from Galactic Pop II and extragalactic carbon abundances. We also point out that depending on the stellar model, significant nitrogen is produced rather than carbon. The combined constraints from C and N give $\Omega_{WD} h < 2 \times 10^{-4}$ from comparison with the low C and N abundances in the Ly$\alpha$ forest. We note, however, that these results are subject to uncertainties regarding the nucleosynthesis of low-metallicity stars. We thus investigate additional constraints from D and $^4$He, finding that these light elements can be kept within observational limits only for $\Omega_{WD} \la 0.003$ and for a white dwarf progenitor initial mass function sharply peaked at low mass (2$M_\odot$). Finally, we consider a Galactic wind, which is required to remove the ejecta accompanying white dwarf production from the galaxy. We show that such a wind can be driven by Type Ia supernovae arising from the white dwarfs themselves, but these supernovae also lead to unacceptably large abundances of iron. We conclude that abundance constraints exclude white dwarfs as Machos. (abridged)
EROS 2 proper motion survey: Constraints on the halo white dwarfs  [PDF]
B. Goldman,C. Afonso,Ch. Alard,J. -N. Albert,A. Amadon,J. Andersen,R. Ansari,E. Aubourg,P. Bareyre,F. Bauer,J. -Ph. Beaulieu,G. Blanc
Physics , 2002, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20020827
Abstract: We are conducting a 377-square-degree proper motion survey in the ~V and I bands in order to determine the cool white dwarf contribution to the Galactic dark matter. Using the 250 square degrees for which we possess three epochs, and applying selection criteria designed to isolate halo-type objects, we find no candidates in a 5500 pc^3 effective volume for old, fast M_V=17 white dwarfs. We check the detection efficiency by cross-matching our catalogue with Luyten's NLTT catalogue. The halo white dwarf contribution cannot exceed 5% (95% C.L.) for objects with M_V=17 and 1
Observational Constraints on the Origin of Metals in Cool DA-type White Dwarfs  [PDF]
R. Chary,B. Zuckerman,E. E. Becklin
Physics , 1998,
Abstract: We present ISOCAM 7 micron and 15 micron observations of 12 nearby white dwarfs, 6 of which have been found to have metals such as Ca, Mg and Fe in their photospheres. Our purpose was to search for an excess of infrared emission above the stellar photospheres. We find that none of the white dwarfs other than G29-38 shows a detectable infrared excess and this places strong constraints on the existence of a dusty disk around these stars. We conclude that ongoing accretion of the interstellar medium seems an unlikely explanation for the existence of metals in the photospheres of cool hydrogen atmosphere white dwarfs. The excess associated with G29-38 is 3.8+/-1.0 mJy and 2.9+/-0.6 mJy at 7 micron and 15 micron respectively. The broadband spectrum of this star strengthens the hypothesis that the infrared excess arises from a disk of particulate matter surrounding the white dwarf rather than from a cool brown dwarf companion.
Cooling Models for Old White Dwarfs  [PDF]
Brad M. S. Hansen
Physics , 1999, DOI: 10.1086/307476
Abstract: We present new white dwarf cooling models which incorporate an accurate outer boundary condition based on new opacity and detailed radiative transfer calculations. We find that helium atmosphere dwarfs cool considerably faster than has previously been claimed, while old hydrogen atmosphere dwarfs will deviate significantly from black body appearance. We use our new models to derive age limits for the Galactic disk. We find that the Liebert, Dahn & Monet (1988) luminosity function yields an age of only 6 Gyr if it is complete to stated limits. However, age estimates of individual dwarfs and the luminosity function of Oswalt et al (1995) are both consistent with disk ages as large as \sim 11 Gyr. We have also used our models to place constraints on white dwarf dark matter in Galactic halos. We find that previous attempts using inadequate cooling models were too severe and that direct detection limits allow a halo that is 11 Gyr old. If the halo is composed solely of helium atmosphere dwarfs, the lower age limit is only 7.5 Gyr. We also demonstrate the importance of studying the cooling sequences of white dwarfs in Globular clusters.
High-velocity white dwarfs: thick disk, not dark matter  [PDF]
I. Neill Reid,Kailash C. Sahu,Suzanne L. Hawley
Physics , 2001, DOI: 10.1086/322362
Abstract: We present an alternative interpretation of the nature of the extremely cool, high-velocity white dwarfs identified by Oppenheimer et al (2001) in a high-latitude astrometric survey. We argue that the velocity distribution of the majority of the sample is more consistent with the high-velocity tail of a rotating population, probably the thick disk, rather than a pressure-supported halo system. Indeed, the observed numbers are well matched by predictions based on the kinematics of a complete sample of nearby M dwarfs. Analysing only stars showing retrograde motion gives a local density close to that expected for white dwarfs in the stellar (R^-3.5) halo. Under our interpretation, none of the white dwarfs need be assigned to the dark-matter, heavy halo. However, luminosity functions derived from observations of these stars can set important constraints on the age of the oldest stars in the Galactic Disk.
Comment on "Strong constraints on magnetized white dwarfs surpassing the Chandrasekhar mass limit"  [PDF]
Upasana Das,Banibrata Mukhopadhyay
Physics , 2014,
Abstract: We show that the upper bound for the central magnetic field of a super-Chandrasekhar white dwarf calculated by Nityananda and Konar [Phys. Rev. D 89, 103017 (2014)] is completely erroneous. This in turn strengthens the argument in favor of the stability of the recently proposed magnetized super-Chandrasekhar white dwarfs. We also point out several other numerical errors in their work. Overall we conclude, based on our calculations, that the arguments put forth by Nityananda and Konar are fallacious and misleading.
White Dwarfs constrain Dark Forces  [PDF]
Herbert K. Dreiner,Jean-Fran?ois Fortin,Jordi Isern,Lorenzo Ubaldi
Physics , 2013, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.88.043517
Abstract: The white dwarf luminosity function, which provides information about their cooling, has been measured with high precision in the past few years. Simulations that include well known Standard Model physics give a good fit to the data. This leaves little room for new physics and makes these astrophysical objects a good laboratory for testing models beyond the Standard Model. It has already been suggested that white dwarfs might provide some evidence for the existence of axions. In this work we study the constraints that the white dwarf luminosity function puts on physics beyond the Standard Model involving new light particles (fermions or bosons) that can be pair-produced in a white dwarf and then escape to contribute to its cooling. We show, in particular, that we can severely constrain the parameter space of models with dark forces and light hidden sectors (lighter than a few tens of keV). The bounds we find are often more competitive than those from current lab searches and those expected from most future searches.
Strong constraints on magnetized white dwarfs surpassing the Chandrasekhar mass limit  [PDF]
Rajaram Nityananda,Sushan Konar
Physics , 2013, DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevD.89.103017
Abstract: We show that recently proposed white dwarf models with masses well in excess of the Chandrasekhar limit, based on modifying the equation of state by a super-strong magnetic field in the centre, are very far from equilibrium because of the neglect of Lorentz forces. An upper bound on the central magnetic fields, from a spherically averaged hydrostatic equation, is much smaller than the values assumed. Robust estimates of the Lorentz forces are also made without assuming spherical averaging. These again bear out the results obtained from a spherically averaged model. In our assessment, these estimates rule out the possibility that magnetic tension could change the situation in favor of larger magnetic fields. We conclude that such super-Chandrasekhar models are unphysical and exploration of their astrophysical consequences is premature. Erratum : We correct certain numerical estimates made in our paper. This correction however does not alter the conclusion that when Lorentz forces are taken into account the super-massive white dwarf models, obtained simply by modifying the equation of state in presence of a super-strong magnetic field in the centre, fail to be in equilibrium.
Absolute Proper Motions to B~22.5: IV. Faint, Low Velocity White Dwarfs and the White Dwarf Population Density Law  [PDF]
S. R. Majewski,M. H. Siegel
Physics , 2001, DOI: 10.1086/339168
Abstract: The reduced proper motion diagram (RPMD) for a complete sample of faint stars with high accuracy proper motions in the North Galactic Pole field SA57 is investigated. Eight stars with very large reduced proper motions are identified as faint white dwarf candidates. We discriminate these white dwarf candidates from the several times more numerous QSOs based on proper motion and variability. We discuss the implausibility that these stars could be any kind of survey contaminant. If {\it bona fide} white dwarfs, the eight candidates found here represent a portion of the white dwarf population hitherto uninvestigated by previous surveys by virtue of the faint magnitudes and low proper motions. The newly discovered stars suggest a disk white dwarf scaleheight larger than the values of 250-350 pc typically assumed in assessments of the local white dwarf density. Both a and a more complex maximum likelihood analysis of the spatial distribution of our likely thin disk white dwarfs yield scaleheights of 400-600 pc while at the same time give a reasonable match to the local white dwarf volume density found in other surveys. Our results could have interesting implications for white dwarfs as potential MACHO objects. We can place some direct constraints (albeit weak ones) on the contribution of halo white dwarfs to the dark matter of the Galaxy. Moreover, the elevated scale height that we measure for the thin disk could alter the interpretation of microlensing results to the extent of making white dwarfs untenable as the dominant MACHO contributor. (Abridged)
Halo White Dwarfs and the Hot Intergalactic Medium  [PDF]
Brian D. Fields,Grant J. Mathews,David N. Schramm
Physics , 1996, DOI: 10.1086/304291
Abstract: We present a schematic model for the formation of baryonic galactic halos and hot gas in the Local Group and the intergalactic medium. We follow the dynamics, chemical evolution, heat flow and gas flows of a hierarchy of scales, including: protogalactic clouds, galactic halos, and the Local Group itself. Within this hierarchy, the Galaxy is built via mergers of protogalactic fragments. We find that early bursts of star formation lead to a large population of remnants (mostly white dwarfs), which would reside presently in the halo and contribute to the dark component observed in the microlensing experiments. The hot, metal-rich gas from early starbursts and merging evaporates from the clouds and is eventually incorporated into the intergalactic medium. The model thus suggests that most microlensing objects could be white dwarfs ($m \sim 0.5 \msol$), which comprise a significant fraction of the halo mass. Furthermore, the Local Group could have a component of metal-rich hot gas similar to, although less than, that observed in larger clusters. We discuss the known constraints on such a scenario and show that all local observations can be satisfied with present data in this model. The best-fit model has a halo that is 40% baryonic, with an upper limit of 77%.
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