Component masses of young, wide, non-magnetic white dwarf binaries in the SDSS DR7 [SSA]

We present a spectroscopic component analysis of 18 candidate young, wide, non-magnetic, double-degenerate binaries identified from a search of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7 (DR7). All but two pairings are likely to be physical systems. We show SDSS J084952.47+471247.7 + SDSS J084952.87+471249.4 to be a wide DA+DB binary, only the second identified to date. Combining our measurements for the components of 16 new binaries with results for three similar, previously known systems within the DR7, we have constructed a mass distribution for the largest sample to date (38) of white dwarfs in young, wide, non-magnetic, double-degenerate pairings. This is broadly similar in form to that of the isolated field population with a substantial peak around M~0.6 Msun. We identify an excess of ultra-massive white dwarfs and attribute this to the primordial separation distribution of their progenitor systems peaking at relatively larger values and the greater expansion of their binary orbits during the final stages of stellar evolution. We exploit this mass distribution to probe the origins of unusual types of degenerates, confirming a mild preference for the progenitor systems of high-field-magnetic white dwarfs, at least within these binaries, to be associated with early-type stars. Additionally, we consider the 19 systems in the context of the stellar initial mass-final mass relation. None appear to be strongly discordant with current understanding of this relationship.

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R. Baxter, P. Dobbie, Q. Parker, et. al.
Tue, 18 Mar 14