Authors: Mukremin Kilic, Warren R. Brown, J. J. Hermes, Carlos Allende Prieto, S. J. Kenyon, D. E. Winget, K. I. Winget
Date: 28 Sep 2011
Abstract: We report the discovery of a new detached, double white dwarf system with an orbital period of 39.8 min. We targeted SDSS J163030.58+423305.8 (hereafter J1630) as part of our radial velocity program to search for companions around low-mass white dwarfs using the 6.5m MMT. We detect peak-to-peak radial velocity variations of 576 km/s. The mass function and optical photometry rule out main-sequence companions. In addition, no milli-second pulsar companions are detected in radio observations. Thus the invisible companion is most likely another white dwarf. Unlike the other 39 min binary SDSS J010657.39-100003.3, follow-up high speed photometric observations of J1630 obtained at the McDonald 2.1m telescope do not show significant ellipsoidal variations, indicating a higher primary mass and smaller radius. The absence of eclipses constrain the inclination angle to <82deg. J1630 contains a pair of white dwarfs, 0.3 Msun primary + >0.3 Msun invisible secondary, at a separation of >0.32 Rsun. The two white dwarfs will merge in less than 31 Myr. Depending on the core composition of the companion, the merger will form either a single core-He burning subdwarf star or a rapidly rotating massive white dwarf. The gravitational wave strain from J1630 is detectable by instruments like the Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) within the first year of operation.
© M. Vallisneri 2012 — last modified on 2010/01/29
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