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arXiv:1906.04727 [astro-ph.SR]AbstractReferencesReviewsResources

A Massive Magnetic Helium Atmosphere White Dwarf Binary in a Young Star Cluster

Harvey B. Richer, Ronan M. Kerr, Jeremy Heyl, Ilaria Caiazzo, Jeffrey Cummings, Pierre Bergeron, Patrick Dufour

Published 2019-06-11Version 1

We have searched the Gaia DR2 catalogue for previously unknown hot white dwarfs in the direction of young open star clusters. The aim of this experiment was to try and extend the initial-final mass relation (IFMR) to somewhat higher masses, potentially providing a tension with the Chandrasekhar limit currently thought to be around 1.38 M$_{\odot}$. We discovered a particularly interesting white dwarf in the direction of the young $\sim$150 Myr old cluster Messier 47 (NGC 2422). All Gaia indicators (proper motion, parallax, location in the Gaia colour-magnitude diagram) suggest that it is a cluster member. Its spectrum, obtained from Gemini South, yields a number of anomalies: it is a DB (helium-rich atmosphere) white dwarf, it has a large magnetic field (2.5 MG), is of high mass ($\sim$1.06 M$_\odot$) and its colours are very peculiar --- particularly the redder ones ($r$, $i$, $z$ and $y$), which suggest that it has a late-type companion. This is the only magnetized, detached binary white dwarf with a non-degenerate companion of any spectral type known in or out of a star cluster. If the white dwarf is a cluster member, as all indicators suggest, its progenitor had a mass just over 6 M$_\odot$. It may, however, be telling an even more interesting story than the one related to the IFMR, one about the origin of stellar magnetic fields, Type I supernovae and gravitational waves from low mass stellar systems.

Comments: 10 pages, 7 figures, accepted for publication in Astrophysical Journal
Categories: astro-ph.SR
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