skip to main content


Title: Resolution Study of Thermonuclear Initiation in White Dwarf Tidal Disruption Events
Abstract

We study the initiation of thermonuclear detonations in tidally disrupted white dwarf stars by intermediate-mass (103M) black holes. The length scales required to resolve the initiation mechanism are not easily reached in 3D, so instead we have devised 2D proxy models, which, together with a logarithmic gridding strategy, can adequately capture detonation wave fronts as material undergoes simultaneous compression and stretching from tidal forces. We consider 0.15 and 0.6Mwhite dwarf stars parameterized by tidal strengths in the rangeβ= 4–23. High spatial resolution elucidates the manner and conditions leading to thermonuclear detonation, linking the initiation sequence to stellar composition and tidal strength. All of our models suffer sustained detonations triggered by a combination of adiabatic compression, mild thermonuclear preconditioning, and collisional heating, in degrees depending primarily on tidal strength. We find that many diagnostics, such as temperature, total released energy, and iron-group products, are fairly well converged (better than 10%) at resolutions below 10 km along the scale height of the orbital plane. The exceptions are intermediate-mass transients like calcium, which remain uncertain up to factors of 2, even at 1 km resolution.

 
more » « less
NSF-PAR ID:
10486182
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
DOI PREFIX: 10.3847
Date Published:
Journal Name:
The Astrophysical Journal
Volume:
934
Issue:
2
ISSN:
0004-637X
Format(s):
Medium: X Size: Article No. 157
Size(s):
["Article No. 157"]
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    The detonation of an overlying helium layer on a 0.8–1.1Mcarbon–oxygen (CO) white dwarf (WD) can detonate the CO WD and create a thermonuclear supernova (SN). Many authors have recently shown that when the mass of the He layer is low (≲0.03M), the ashes from its detonation minimally impact the spectra and light curve from the CO detonation, allowing the explosion to appear remarkably similar to Type Ia SNe. These new insights motivate our investigation of dynamical He shell burning and our search for a binary scenario that stably accumulates thermally unstable He shells in the 0.01–0.08Mrange, thick enough to detonate, but also often thin enough for minimal impact on the observables. We first show that our improved nonadiabatic evolution of convective He shell burning in this range of shell mass leads to conditions ripe for a He detonation. We also find that a stable mass transfer scenario with a high-entropy He WD donor of mass 0.15–0.25Myields the He shell masses needed to achieve the double detonations. This scenario also predicts that the surviving He donor leaves with a spatial velocity consistent with the unusual runaway object, D6-2. We find that hot He WD donors originate in common-envelope events when a 1.3–2.0Mstar fills its Roche lobe at the base of the red giant branch at orbital periods of 1–10 days with the CO WD.

     
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    We present a chemodynamical study of the Grus I ultra-faint dwarf galaxy (UFD) from medium-resolution (R∼ 11,000) Magellan/IMACS spectra of its individual member stars. We identify eight confirmed members of Grus I, based on their low metallicities and coherent radial velocities, and four candidate members for which only velocities are derived. In contrast to previous work, we find that Grus I has a very low mean metallicity of 〈[Fe/H]〉 = −2.62 ± 0.11 dex, making it one of the most metal-poor UFDs. Grus I has a systemic radial velocity of −143.5 ± 1.2 km s−1and a velocity dispersion ofσrv=2.50.8+1.3km s−1, which results in a dynamical mass ofM1/2(rh)=84+12×105Mand a mass-to-light ratio ofM/LV=440250+650M/L. Under the assumption of dynamical equilibrium, our analysis confirms that Grus I is a dark-matter-dominated UFD (M/L> 80M/L). However, we do not resolve a metallicity dispersion (σ[Fe/H]< 0.44 dex). Our results indicate that Grus I is a fairly typical UFD with parameters that agree with mass–metallicity and metallicity-luminosity trends for faint galaxies. This agreement suggests that Grus I has not lost an especially significant amount of mass from tidal encounters with the Milky Way, in line with its orbital parameters. Intriguingly, Grus I has among the lowest central densities (ρ1/23.52.1+5.7×107Mkpc−3) of the UFDs that are not known to be tidally disrupting. Models of the formation and evolution of UFDs will need to explain the diversity of these central densities, in addition to any diversity in the outer regions of these relic galaxies.

     
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    The recently discovered stellar system Ursa Major III/UNIONS 1 (UMa3/U1) is the faintest known Milky Way satellite to date. With a stellar mass of165+6Mand a half-light radius of 3 ± 1 pc, it is either the darkest galaxy ever discovered or the faintest self-gravitating star cluster known to orbit the Galaxy. Its line-of-sight velocity dispersion suggests the presence of dark matter, although current measurements are inconclusive because of the unknown contribution to the dispersion of potential binary stars. We useN-body simulations to show that, if self-gravitating, the system could not survive in the Milky Way tidal field for much longer than a single orbit (roughly 0.4 Gyr), which strongly suggests that the system is stabilized by the presence of large amounts of dark matter. If UMa3/U1 formed at the center of a ∼109Mcuspy LCDM halo, its velocity dispersion would be predicted to be of order ∼1 km s−1. This is roughly consistent with the current estimate, which, neglecting binaries, placesσlosin the range 1–4 km s−1. Because of its dense cusp, such a halo should be able to survive the Milky Way tidal field, keeping UMa3/U1 relatively unscathed until the present time. This implies that UMa3/U1 is plausibly the faintest and densest dwarf galaxy satellite of the Milky Way, with important implications for alternative dark matter models and for the minimum halo mass threshold for luminous galaxy formation in the LCDM cosmology. Our results call for multi-epoch high-resolution spectroscopic follow-up to confirm the dark matter content of this extraordinary system.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    We present the discovery of a new double-detonation progenitor system consisting of a hot subdwarf B (sdB) binary with a white dwarf companion with aPorb= 76.34179(2) minutes orbital period. Spectroscopic observations are consistent with an sdB star during helium core burning residing on the extreme horizontal branch. Chimera light curves are dominated by ellipsoidal deformation of the sdB star and a weak eclipse of the companion white dwarf. Combining spectroscopic and light curve fits, we find a low-mass sdB star,MsdB= 0.383 ± 0.028Mwith a massive white dwarf companion,MWD= 0.725 ± 0.026M. From the eclipses we find a blackbody temperature for the white dwarf of 26,800 K resulting in a cooling age of ≈25 Myr whereas ourMESAmodel predicts an sdB age of ≈170 Myr. We conclude that the sdB formed first through stable mass transfer followed by a common envelope which led to the formation of the white dwarf companion ≈25 Myr ago. Using theMESAstellar evolutionary code we find that the sdB star will start mass transfer in ≈6 Myr and in ≈60 Myr the white dwarf will reach a total mass of 0.92Mwith a thick helium layer of 0.17M. This will lead to a detonation that will likely destroy the white dwarf in a peculiar thermonuclear supernova. PTF1 J2238+7430 is only the second confirmed candidate for a double-detonation thermonuclear supernova. Using both systems we estimate that at least ≈1% of white dwarf thermonuclear supernovae originate from sdB+WD binaries with thick helium layers, consistent with the small number of observed peculiar thermonuclear explosions.

     
    more » « less
  5. null (Ed.)
    Sub-Chandrasekhar mass carbon-oxygen white dwarfs with a surface helium shell have been proposed as progenitors of Type Ia supernovae (SNe Ia). If true, the resulting thermonuclear explosions should be able to account for at least some of the range of SNe Ia observables. To study this, we conducted a parameter study based on three-dimensional simulations of double detonations in carbon-oxygen white dwarfs with a helium shell, assuming different core and shell masses. An admixture of carbon to the shell and solar metallicity are included in the models. The hydrodynamic simulations were carried out using the A REPO code. This allowed us to follow the helium shell detonation with high numerical resolution, and this improves the reliability of predicted nucleosynthetic shell detonation yields. The addition of carbon to the shell leads to a lower production of 56 Ni, while including solar metallicity increases the production of intermediate mass elements. The production of higher mass elements is further shifted to stable isotopes at solar metallicity. Moreover, we find different core detonation ignition mechanisms depending on the core and shell mass configuration. This has an influence on the ejecta structure. We present the bolometric light curves predicted from our explosion simulations using the Monte Carlo radiative transfer code A RTIS and make comparisons with bolometric SNe Ia data. The bolometric light curves of our models show a range of brightnesses, which is able to account for subluminous to normal brightness SNe Ia. We show the model bolometric width-luminosity relation compared to data for a range of model viewing angles. We find that, on average, our brighter models lie within the observed data. The ejecta asymmetries produce a wide distribution of observables, which might account for outliers in the data. However, the models overestimate the extent of this compared to data. We also find that the bolometric decline rate over 40 days, Δm 40 (bol), appears systematically faster than data. 
    more » « less