No Neutron Star Companion to the Lowest Mass SDSS White Dwarf

Agüeros, Marcel Andre; Heinke, Craig; Camilo, Fernando; Kilic, Mukremin; Anderson, Scott F.; Freire, Paulo; Kleinman, Scott J.; Liebert, James W.; Silvestri, Nicole M.

SDSS J091709.55+463821.8 (hereafter J0917+4638) is the lowest surface gravity white dwarf (WD) currently known, with log g = 5.55 ± 0.05 (M ≈ 0.17 M ☉). Such low-mass white dwarfs (LMWDs) are believed to originate in binaries that evolve into WD/WD or WD/neutron star (NS) systems. An optical search for J0917+4638's companion showed that it must be a compact object with a mass ≥0.28 M ☉. Here we report on Green Bank Telescope 820 MHz and XMM-Newton X-ray observations of J0917+4638 intended to uncover a potential NS companion to the LMWD. No convincing pulsar signal is detected in our radio data. Our X-ray observation also failed to detect X-ray emission from J0917+4638's companion, while we would have detected any of the millisecond radio pulsars in 47 Tuc. We conclude that the companion is almost certainly another WD.


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Astrophysical Journal Letters

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IOP Science
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April 6, 2016