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When Do Stars Go Boom?

Richer, Harvey B. and Cohen, Roger E. and Heyl, Jeremy and Kalirai, Jason and Caiazzo, Ilaria and Correnti, Matteo and Cummings, Jeffrey and Goudfrooij, Paul and Hansen, Bradley M. S. and Peeples, Molly and Sabbi, Elena and Tremblay, Pier-Emmanuel and Williams, Benjamin (2022) When Do Stars Go Boom? Astrophysical Journal Letters, 931 (2). Art. No. L20. ISSN 2041-8205. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/ac6585.

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The maximum mass of a star that can produce a white dwarf (WD) is an important astrophysical quantity. One of the best approaches to establishing this limit is to search for WDs in young star clusters in which only massive stars have had time to evolve and where the mass of the progenitor can be established from the cooling time of the WD together with the age of the cluster. Searches in young Milky Way clusters have not thus far yielded WD members more massive than about 1.1 M_⊙, well below the Chandrasekhar mass of 1.38 M_⊙, nor progenitors with masses in excess of about 6 M_⊙. However, the hunt for potentially massive WDs that escaped their cluster environs is yielding interesting candidates. To expand the cluster sample further, we used HST to survey four young and massive star clusters in the Magellanic Clouds for bright WDs that could have evolved from stars as massive as 10 M_⊙. We located five potential WD candidates in the oldest of the four clusters examined, the first extragalactic single WDs thus far discovered. As these hot WDs are very faint at optical wavelengths, final confirmation will likely have to await spectroscopy with 30 m class telescopes.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Richer, Harvey B.0000-0001-9002-8178
Cohen, Roger E.0000-0002-2970-7435
Heyl, Jeremy0000-0001-9739-367X
Kalirai, Jason0000-0001-9690-4159
Caiazzo, Ilaria0000-0002-4770-5388
Correnti, Matteo0000-0001-6464-3257
Cummings, Jeffrey0000-0001-7453-9947
Goudfrooij, Paul0000-0002-5728-1427
Hansen, Bradley M. S.0000-0001-7840-3502
Peeples, Molly0000-0003-1455-8788
Sabbi, Elena0000-0003-2954-7643
Tremblay, Pier-Emmanuel0000-0001-9873-0121
Williams, Benjamin0000-0002-7502-0597
Additional Information:© 2022. The Author(s). Published by the American Astronomical Society. Original content from this work may be used under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence. Any further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the author(s) and the title of the work, journal citation and DOI. Received 2022 March 7; revised 2022 March 30; accepted 2022 April 7; published 2022 May 30. This work was supported in part by NSERC Canada and Compute Canada via grants to H.R. and J.H. I.C. is a Sherman Fairchild Fellow at Caltech and thanks the Burke Institute at Caltech for supporting her research. Support for this project was provided by NASA through grant HST-GO-13727 from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555. Facilities: Based on observations with the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope, obtained at the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., under NASA contract NAS5-26555.
Group:TAPIR, Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)UNSPECIFIED
Sherman Fairchild FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Walter Burke Institute for Theoretical Physics, CaltechUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:White dwarf stars; Open star clusters; Stellar evolution; Chandrasekhar limit
Issue or Number:2
Classification Code:Unified Astronomy Thesaurus concepts: White dwarf stars (1799); Open star clusters (1160); Stellar evolution (1599); Chandrasekhar limit (221)
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20220531-844238000
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Harvey B. Richer et al 2022 ApJL 931 L20
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:114972
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:01 Jun 2022 18:12
Last Modified:01 Jun 2022 18:12

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