[1006.3772] Mass Constraints from Eclipse Timing in Double White Dwarf Binaries

Authors: David L Kaplan (KITP)

Date: 18 Jun 2010

Abstract: I demonstrate that an effect similar to the Roemer delay, familiar from timing radio pulsars, should be detectable in the first eclipsing double white dwarf (WD) binary, NLTT 11748. By measuring the difference of the time between the secondary and primary eclipses from one-half period (4.6 s), one can determine the physical size of the orbit and hence constrain the masses of the individual WDs. A measurement with uncertainty <0.1 s — possible with modern large telescopes — will determine the individual masses to +/-0.02 Msun when combined with good-quality (<1 km/s) radial velocity data, although the eccentricity must also be known to high accuracy (+/- 1e-3). Mass constraints improve as Pˆ{-½} (where P is the orbital period), so this works best in wide binaries and should be detectable even for non-degenerate stars, but such constraints require the mass ratio to differ from one and undistorted orbits.

abs pdf

Jun 20, 2010

1006.3772 (/preprints)
2010-06-20, 21:23 [edit]

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