The white dwarf luminosity function - A possible probe of the galactic halo
ABSTRACT The dynamically inferred dark halo mass density, amounting to above 0.01 solar masses/cu pc at the sun's Galactocentric radius, can be composed of faint white dwarfs provided that the halo formed in a sufficiently early burst of star formation. The model is constrained by the observed disk white dwarf luminosity function which falls off below log (L/solar L) = -4.4, due to the onset of star formation in the disk. By using a narrow range for the initial mass function and an exponentially decaying halo star formation rate with an e-folding time equal to the free-fall time, all the halo dark matter is allowed to be in cool white dwarfs which lie beyond the falloff in the disk luminosity function. Although it is unlikely that all the dark matter is in these dim white dwarfs, a definite signature in the low-luminosity end of the white dwarf luminosity function is predicted even if they comprise only 1 percent of the dark matter. Current CCD surveys should answer the question of the existence of this population within the next few years.
Article: Gravitational Microlensing[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: This review forms the microlensing part of the 33rd Saas-Fee Advanced Course "Gravitational Lensing: Strong, Weak & Micro'', which was held in April 2003 in Les Diablerets. It contains an introduction to the lensing effects of single and binary stars and it summarizes the state-of-the-art of microlensing observations and prospects at the time of the meeting. Stellar microlensing as well as quasar microlensing are covered. Comment: 93 pages, 51 figures; to appear (April 2006) in: Kochanek, C.S., Schneider, P., Wambsganss, J.: "Gravitational Lensing: Strong, Weak & Micro", Proceedings of the 33rd Saas-Fee Advanced Course; G. Meylan, P. Jetzer, P. North, eds. (Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg); pp. 45704/2006;
Article: Cool White Dwarfs*[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Key Words evolution of stars, interiors of stars, atmospheres of stars, white dwarfs, stellar content of the Galaxy s Abstract Old, cool white dwarfs convey valuable information about the early history of our Galaxy. They have been used to determine the age of the galactic disk, several open clusters, and a globular cluster. We review the current understanding of the physics of cool white dwarfs, including their mass distribution, chemical evolution, magnetism, and cooling. We also examine the role of white dwarfs as tracers of various stellar populations, both in terms of observational searches and theoretical models.Annual Review of Astronomy and Astrophysics 01/2003; 41:465-515. · 23.33 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: White dwarfs are the remnant cores of stars that initially had masses of less than 8 solar masses. They cool gradually over billions of years, and have been suggested to make up much of the 'dark matter' in the halo of the Milky Way. But extremely cool white dwarfs have proved difficult to detect, owing to both their faintness and their anticipated similarity in colour to other classes of dwarf stars. Recent improved models indicate that white dwarfs are much more blue than previously supposed, suggesting that the earlier searches may have been looking for the wrong kinds of objects. Here we report an infrared spectrum of an extremely cool white dwarf that is consistent with the new models. We determine the star's temperature to be 3,500 +/- 200 K, making it the coolest known white dwarf. The kinematics of this star indicate that it is in the halo of the Milky Way, and the density of such objects implied by the serendipitous discovery of this star is consistent with white dwarfs dominating the dark matter in the halo.Nature 02/2000; 403(6765):57-9. · 38.60 Impact Factor