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On the origin of the ultramassive white dwarf GD 50


Dobbie, PD and Napiwotzki, R and Lodieu, N and Burleigh, MR and Barstow, MA and Jameson, RF, On the origin of the ultramassive white dwarf GD 50, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 373, (1) pp. L45-L49. ISSN 1745-3933 (2006) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2006 the authors Journal compilation copyright RAS

DOI: doi:10.1111/j.1745-3933.2006.00240.x


We argue on the basis of astrometric and spectroscopic data that the ultramassive white dwarf GD 50 is associated with the star formation event that created the Pleiades and is possibly a former member of this cluster. Its cooling age (∼60 Myr) is consistent with it having evolved essentially as a single star from a progenitor with a mass M > 6 M⊙, so we find no need to invoke a white dwarf–white dwarf binary merger scenario to account for its existence. This result may represent the first direct observational evidence that single-star evolution can produce white dwarfs with M > 1.1 M⊙, as predicted by some stellar evolutionary theories. On the basis of its tangential velocity, we also provisionally identify the ultramassive (M∼ 1.2 M⊙) white dwarf PG 0136 + 251 as being related to the Pleiades. These findings may help to alleviate the difficulties in reconciling the observed number of hot nearby ultramassive white dwarfs with the smaller number predicted by binary evolution models under the assumption that they are the products of white dwarf mergers.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:stars: individual: GD 50; stars: individual: PG 0136 + 251; white dwarfs; open clusters and associations: individual: Pleiades
Research Division:Physical Sciences
Research Group:Astronomical sciences
Research Field:Stellar astronomy and planetary systems
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the physical sciences
UTAS Author:Dobbie, PD (Dr Paul Dobbie)
ID Code:81091
Year Published:2006
Web of Science® Times Cited:33
Deposited By:Mathematics and Physics
Deposited On:2012-11-22
Last Modified:2013-06-26

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