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Simulating a White Dwarf-dominated Galactic Halo  [PDF]
Chris B. Brook,Daisuke Kawata,Brad K. Gibson
Physics , 2003, DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-8711.2003.06734.x
Abstract: Observational evidence has suggested the possibility of a Galactic halo which is dominated by white dwarfs (WDs). While debate continues concerning the interpretation of this evidence, it is clear that an initial mass function (IMF) biased heavily toward WD precursors (1 < m/Msol < 8), at least in the early Universe, would be necessary in generating such a halo. Within the framework of homogeneous, closed-box models of Galaxy formation, such biased IMFs lead to an unavoidable overproduction of carbon and nitrogen relative to oxygen (as measured against the abundance patterns in the oldest stars of the Milky Way). Using a three-dimensional Tree N-body smoothed particle hydrodynamics code, we study the dynamics and chemical evolution of a galaxy with different IMFs. Both invariant and metallicity-dependent IMFs are considered. Our variable IMF model invokes a WD-precursor-dominated IMF for metallicities less than 5% solar (primarily the Galactic halo), and the canonical Salpeter IMF otherwise (primarily the disk). Halo WD density distributions and C,N/O abundance patterns are presented. While Galactic haloes comprised of ~5% (by mass) of WDs are not supported by our simulations, mass fractions of ~1-2% cannot be ruled out. This conclusion is consistent with the present-day observational constraints.
The Chemical Residue of a White Dwarf-Dominated Galactic Halo  [PDF]
Brad K. Gibson,Jeremy R. Mould
Physics , 1996, DOI: 10.1086/304140
Abstract: Halo initial mass functions (IMFs), heavily-biased toward white dwarf (WD) precursors (i.e. 1->8 M_sun), have been suggested as a suitable mechanism for explaining microlensing statistics along the line of sight to the LMC. Such IMFs can apparently be invoked without violating the observed present-day WD luminosity function. By employing a simple chemical evolution argument, we demonstrate that reconciling the observed halo Population II dwarf abundances (i.e. [C,N/O]=-0.5), with that expected from the postulated ``WD-heavy'' IMF (i.e. [C,N/O]=+0.5), is difficult.
The halo white dwarf population  [PDF]
J. Isern,E. Garcia-Berro,M. Hernanz,R. Mochkovitch,S. Torres
Physics , 1998, DOI: 10.1086/305977
Abstract: Halo white dwarfs can provide important information about the properties and evolution of the galactic halo. In this paper we compute, assuming a standard IMF and updated models of white dwarf cooling, the expected luminosity function, both in luminosity and in visual magnitude, for different star formation rates. We show that a deep enough survey (limiting magnitude > 20) could provide important information about the halo age and the duration of the formation stage. We also show that the number of white dwarfs produced using the recently proposed biased IMFs cannot represent a large fraction of the halo dark matter if they are constrained by the presently observed luminosity function. Furthermore, we show that a robust determination of the bright portion of the luminosity function can provide strong constraints on the allowable IMF shapes.
A Critical Examination of Halo White Dwarf Candidates  [PDF]
P. Bergeron
Physics , 2002, DOI: 10.1086/367618
Abstract: A detailed analysis of halo white dwarf candidates is presented, which is based on model atmosphere fits to observed energy distributions built from photoelectric or photographic magnitudes. Most of the candidates identified in reduced proper motion diagrams are shown to be too warm (Teff > 5000 K) and most likely too young to be members of the galactic halo, while the tangential velocities of the cooler and thus older white dwarfs are shown to be entirely consistent with the disk population. The results suggest that some white dwarf stars born in the young disk may have high velocities with respect to the local standard of rest. Such objects could represent the remnants of donor stars from close mass-transfer binaries that produced type Ia supernovae via the single degenerate channel, or other scenarios suggested in the literature. Ongoing surveys that rely solely on reduced proper motion diagrams are likely to identify more of these high velocity young degenerates, rather than to unveil the old white dwarf population of the galactic halo. The importance of infrared photometry for studying extremely cool white dwarfs is also emphasized.
Simulating Observations of Dark Matter Dominated Galaxies: Towards the Optimal Halo Profile  [PDF]
W. J. G. de Blok,A. Bosma,S. S. McGaugh
Physics , 2002, DOI: 10.1046/j.1365-8711.2003.06330.x
Abstract: Low Surface Brightness (LSB) galaxies are dominated by dark matter, and their rotation curves thus reflect their dark matter distribution. Recent high-resolution rotation curves suggest that their dark matter mass-density distributions are dominated by a constant-density core. This seems inconsistent with the predictions of Cold Dark Matter (CDM) models which produce halos with compact density cusps and steep mass-density profiles. However, the observationally determined mass profiles may be affected by non-circular motions, asymmetries and offsets between optical and dynamical centres, all of which tend to lower the observed slopes. Here we determine the impact of each of these effects on a variety of halo models, and compare the results with observed mass-density profiles. Our simulations suggest that no single systematic effect can reconcile the data with the cuspy CDM halos. The data are best described by a model with a soft core with an inner power-law mass-density slope alpha = -0.2 +/- 0.2. However, no single universal halo profile provides a completely adequate description of the data.
The Halo White Dwarf WD 0346+246 Revisited  [PDF]
P. Bergeron
Physics , 2001, DOI: 10.1086/322316
Abstract: The extreme helium-rich atmospheric composition determined for the halo white dwarf WD 0346+246 is reexamined. This solution is shown to be improbable from an astrophysical point of view when accretion of hydrogen and metals from the interstellar medium is taken into account. An alternate solution is proposed where hydrogen and helium are present in the atmospheric regions in equal amounts. The best fit at Teff=3780 K, log g=8.34, and N(He)/N(H)=1.3 is achieved by including in the model calculations a bound-free opacity from the Lyman edge associated with the so-called dissolved atomic levels of the hydrogen atom, or pseudo-continuum opacity.
Limits on the Halo White Dwarf Component of Baryonic Dark Matter from the {\em Hubble Deep Field}  [PDF]
Steven D. Kawaler
Physics , 1996, DOI: 10.1086/310197
Abstract: The MACHO collaboration lensing event statistics suggest that a significant fraction of the dark galactic halo can be comprised of baryonic matter in the form of white dwarf stars with masses between 0.1 and 1.0 \Msun . Such a halo white dwarf population, in order to have escaped detection by those who observe the white dwarf luminosity function of the disk, must have formed from an old population. The observations indicate that the number of halo white dwarfs per cubic parsec per unit bolometric magnitude is less than $10^{-5}$ at $10^{-4.5}$\Lsun; the number must rise significantly at lower luminosities to provide the needed baryonic halo mass. Such white dwarfs may easily escape detection in most current and earlier surveys. Though it is limited in angular extent, the {\em Hubble Deep Field} (HDF) probes a sufficient volume of the galactic halo to provide interesting limits on the number of halo white dwarf stars, and on the fraction of the halo mass that they can make up. If the HDF field can be probed for stars down to $V=29.8$ then the MACHO result suggests that there could be up to 12 faint halo white dwarfs visible in the HDF. Finding (or not finding) these stars in turn places interesting constraints on star formation immediately following the formation of the galaxy.
Simulating the photometric study of pulsating white dwarf stars in the physics laboratory  [PDF]
Paul Chote,Denis J. Sullivan
Physics , 2015,
Abstract: We have designed a realistic simulation of astronomical observing using a relatively low-cost commercial CCD camera and a microcontroller-based circuit that drives LEDs inside a light-tight box with time-varying intensities. As part of a laboratory experiment, students can acquire sequences of images using the camera, and then perform data analysis using a language such as MATLAB or Python to: (a) extract the intensity of the imaged LEDs, (b) perform basic calibrations on the time-series data, and (c) convert their data into the frequency domain where they can then identify the frequency structure. The primary focus is on studying light curves produced by the pulsating white dwarf stars. The exercise provides an introduction to CCD observing, a framework for teaching concepts in numerical data analysis and Fourier techniques, and connections with the physics of white dwarf stars.
Is Galactic Dark Matter White ?  [PDF]
Gilles Chabrier
Physics , 1999, DOI: 10.1086/311920
Abstract: We calculate the expected white dwarf luminosity functions and discovery functions in photometric passbands, if these stellar remnants provide a substantial fraction of the sought Galactic dark matter, as suggested on various observational grounds. We demonstrate the extremely rapid variation of the photometic signature of halo white dwarfs with time and thus the powerful diagnostic of white dwarf colors to determine the age of the Galactic halo. We also consider the various indirect constraints implied by a white dwarf dominated halo. These calculations will guide present and future observational projects at faint magnitudes. This will enable us to determine not only the nature of the Galactic dark matter but also the age and the initial conditions of the Galaxy formation.
Visitors from the Halo: 11 Gyr old White Dwarfs in the Solar Neighborhood  [PDF]
Mukremin Kilic,Jeffrey A. Munn,Kurtis A. Williams,P. M. Kowalski,Ted von Hippel,Hugh C. Harris,Elizabeth J. Jeffery,Steven DeGennaro,Warren R. Brown,B. McLeod
Physics , 2010, DOI: 10.1088/2041-8205/715/1/L21
Abstract: We report the discovery of three nearby old halo white dwarf candidates in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), including two stars in a common proper motion binary system. These candidates are selected from our 2800 square degree proper motion survey on the Bok and U.S. Naval Observatory Flagstaff Station 1.3m telescopes, and they display proper motions of 0.4-0.5 arcsec/yr. Follow-up MMT spectroscopy and near-infrared photometry demonstrate that all three objects are hydrogen-dominated atmosphere white dwarfs with Teff = 3700 - 4100 K. For average mass white dwarfs, these temperature estimates correspond to cooling ages of 9-10 Gyr, distances of 70-80 pc, and tangential velocities of 140-200 km/s. Based on the UVW space velocities, we conclude that they most likely belong to the halo. Furthermore, the combined main-sequence and white dwarf cooling ages are 10-11 Gyr. Along with SDSS J1102+4113, they are the oldest field white dwarfs currently known. These three stars represent only a small fraction of the halo white dwarf candidates in our proper motion survey, and they demonstrate that deep imaging surveys like the Pan-STARRS and Large Synoptic Survey Telescope should find many old thick disk and halo white dwarfs that can be used to constrain the age of the Galactic thick disk and halo.
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