A Caltech Library Service

Massive White Dwarfs in Young Star Clusters

Richer, Harvey B. and Caiazzo, Ilaria and Du, Helen and Grondin, Steffani and Hegarty, James and Heyl, Jeremy and Kerr, Ronan and Miller, David R. and Thiele, Sarah (2021) Massive White Dwarfs in Young Star Clusters. Astrophysical Journal, 912 (2). Art. No. 165. ISSN 0004-637X. doi:10.3847/1538-4357/abdeb7.

[img] PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.

[img] PDF - Accepted Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


We have carried out a search for massive white dwarfs (WDs) in the direction of young open star clusters using the Gaia DR2 database. The aim of this survey was (1) to provide robust data for new and previously known high-mass WDs regarding cluster membership, (2) to highlight WDs previously included in the initial final mass relation (IFMR) that are unlikely members of their respective clusters according to Gaia astrometry, and (3) to select an unequivocal WD sample that could then be compared with the host clusters' turnoff masses. All promising WD candidates in each cluster color–magnitude diagram were followed up with spectroscopy from Gemini in order to determine whether they were indeed WDs and derive their masses, temperatures, and ages. In order to be considered cluster members, white dwarfs were required to (1) have proper motions and parallaxes within 2σ, 3σ, or 4σ of those of their potential parent cluster based on how contaminated the field was in their region of the sky, (2) have a cooling age that was less than the cluster age, and (3) have a mass that was broadly consistent with the IFMR. A number of WDs included in current versions of the IFMR turned out to be nonmembers, and a number of apparent members, based on Gaia's astrometric data alone, were rejected, as their mass and/or cooling times were incompatible with cluster membership. In this way, we developed a highly selected IFMR sample for high-mass WDs that, surprisingly, contained no precursor masses significantly in excess of ~ 6 M_⊙.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Richer, Harvey B.0000-0001-9002-8178
Caiazzo, Ilaria0000-0002-4770-5388
Hegarty, James0000-0003-0933-945X
Heyl, Jeremy0000-0001-9739-367X
Additional Information:© 2021. The American Astronomical Society. Received 2020 December 5; revised 2021 January 12; accepted 2021 January 15; published 2021 May 17. The research was supported by NSERC Canada, Compute Canada, and a Burke Fellowship at Caltech. Spectra were obtained at the international Gemini Observatory. We used the Montreal White Dwarf website (, the PARSEC stellar models (, the MIST stellar models ( and the VizieR catalog access tool, CDS, Strasbourg, France (doi:10.26093/cds/vizier). This work has made use of data from the European Space Agency (ESA) mission Gaia (, processed by the Gaia Data Processing and Analysis Consortium (DPAC, Funding for the DPAC has been provided by national institutions, in particular the institutions participating in the Gaia Multilateral Agreement. Facilities: Gaia(DR2) - , Gemini North and South. - Software: Astropy (Astropy Collaboration et al. 2013, 2018), Cloudy (Ferland et al. 2013), SExtractor (Bertin & Arnouts 1996).
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
Sherman Fairchild FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Gaia Multilateral AgreementUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:White dwarf stars; Chandrasekhar limit; Supernovae; Compact objects; Open star clusters; Young star clusters
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: White dwarf stars (1799); Chandrasekhar limit (221); Supernovae (1668); Compact objects (288); Open star clusters (1160); Young star clusters (1833)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210611-102236029
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Harvey B. Richer et al 2021 ApJ 912 165
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:109483
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:11 Jun 2021 17:30
Last Modified:11 Jun 2021 17:30

Repository Staff Only: item control page