[1011.6317] Watch This Space: Observing Merging White Dwarfs

Authors: Ronald F. Webbink

Date: 29 Nov 2010

Abstract: The Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) will open the low-frequency (0.1-100 mHz) part of the gravitational wave spectrum to direct observation. Of order 3600 galactic close binary white dwarfs will be individually resolvable in its all-sky spectrum, of which a dozen systems are expected to be on the verge of merger, showing the effects of strong tidal heating and/or early onset of tidal mass transfer. Optical study of these systems would provide important insights into tidal dissipation mechanisms, and internal heating in merging white dwarfs that sets ignition conditions for potential type Ia supernovae. Theoretical modeling and instrumentation programs are needed now to enable a campaign for optical identifications to exploit this opportunity.

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Nov 30, 2010

1011.6317 (/preprints)
2010-11-30, 13:57 [edit]

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