Found: the progenitors of AM CVn and supernovae .Ia

Kilic, Mukremin; Hermes, J. J.; Gianninas, A.; Brown, Warren R.; Heinke, Craig O.; Agüeros, Marcel Andre; Chote, Paul; Sullivan, Denis J.; Bell, Keaton J.; Harrold, Samuel T.

We present optical and X-ray observations of two tidally distorted, extremely low-mass white dwarfs (WDs) with massive companions. There is no evidence of neutron stars in our Chandra and XMM observations of these objects. SDSS J075141.18−014120.9 (J0751) is an eclipsing double WD binary containing a 0.19 M⊙ WD with a 0.97 M⊙ companion in a 1.9 h orbit. J0751 becomes the fifth eclipsing double WD system currently known. SDSS J174140.49+652638.7 (J1741) is another binary containing a 0.17 M⊙ WD with an unseen M ≥ 1.11 M⊙ WD companion in a 1.5-h orbit. With a mass ratio of ≈0.1, J1741 will have stable mass transfer through an accretion disc and turn into an interacting AM Canum Venaticorum (AM CVn) system in the next ≈160 Myr. With a mass ratio of 0.2, J0751 is likely to follow a similar evolutionary path. These are the first known AM CVn progenitor binary systems and they provide important constraints on the initial conditions for AM CVn. Theoretical studies suggest that both J0751 and J1741 may create thermonuclear supernovae in ∼10^8 yr, either .Ia or Ia. Such explosions can account for ∼1 per cent of the Type Ia supernova rate.



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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters

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Oxford University Press
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March 25, 2014