A Caltech Library Service

Tidal Interactions in Merging White Dwarf Binaries

Piro, Anthony L. (2011) Tidal Interactions in Merging White Dwarf Binaries. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 740 (2). Art. No. L53. ISSN 2041-8205.

PDF - Published Version
See Usage Policy.


Use this Persistent URL to link to this item:


The recently discovered system J0651 is the tightest known detached white dwarf (WD) binary. Since it has not yet initiated Roche-lobe overflow, it provides a relatively clean environment for testing our understanding of tidal interactions. I investigate the tidal heating of each WD, parameterized in terms of its tidal Q parameter. Assuming that the heating can be radiated efficiently, the current luminosities are consistent with Q_1 ≈ 7 × 10^(10) and Q_2 ≈ 2 × 10^7, for the He and C/O WDs, respectively. Conversely, if the observed luminosities are merely from the cooling of the WDs, these estimated values of Q represent the upper limits. A large Q_1 for the He WD means its spin velocity will be slower than that expected if it was tidally locked, which, since the binary is eclipsing, may be measurable via the Rossiter-McLaughlin effect. After one year, gravitational wave emission shifts the time of eclipses by 5.5 s, but tidal interactions cause the orbit to shrink more rapidly, changing the time by up to an additional 0.3 s after a year. Future eclipse timing measurements may therefore infer the degree of tidal locking.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Piro, Anthony L.0000-0001-6806-0673
Additional Information:© 2011 The American Astronomical Society. Received 2011 August 12; accepted 2011 September 7; published 2011 October 4. I thank Phil Arras, Lars Bildsten, Peter Goldreich, Paul Groot, Mukremin Kilic, Samaya Nissanke, Eran Ofek, Christian Ott, Sterl Phinney, and Marten van Kerkwijk for helpful feedback. This work was supported through NASA ATP grant NNX07AH06G, NSF grant AST-0855535, and by the Sherman Fairchild Foundation.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Sherman Fairchild FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:binaries: close; binaries: eclipsing; gravitational waves; stars: individual (SDSS J065133.33+284423.3); white dwarfs
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20111207-140447805
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Tidal Interactions in Merging White Dwarf Binaries Anthony L. Piro 2011 ApJ 740 L53
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:28356
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:07 Dec 2011 22:18
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 03:31

Repository Staff Only: item control page