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Radio Transients from the Accretion-induced Collapse of White Dwarfs

Piro, Anthony L. and Kulkarni, S. R. (2013) Radio Transients from the Accretion-induced Collapse of White Dwarfs. Astrophysical Journal Letters, 762 (2). Art. No. L17. ISSN 2041-8205.

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It has long been expected that in some scenarios when a white dwarf (WD) grows to the Chandrasekhar limit, it can undergo an accretion-induced collapse (AIC) to form a rapidly rotating neutron star. Nevertheless, the detection of such events has so far evaded discovery, likely because the optical, supernova-like emission is expected to be dim and short-lived. Here we propose a novel signature of AIC: a transient radio source lasting for a few months. Rapid rotation along with flux freezing and dynamo action can grow the WD's magnetic field to magnetar strengths during collapse. The spin-down of this newly born magnetar generates a pulsar wind nebula (PWN) within the ~10^(–3)-10^(–1) M_☉ of ejecta surrounding it. Our calculations show that synchrotron emission from the PWN may be detectable in the radio, even if the magnetar has a rather modest magnetic field of ~2 × 10^(14) G and an initial spin period of ~10 ms. An all-sky survey with a detection limit of 1 mJy at 1.4 GHz would see ~4(ƒ/10^(–2)) above threshold at any given time, where f is the ratio of the AIC rate to Type Ia supernova rate. A similar scenario may result from binary neutron stars if some mergers produce massive neutron stars rather than black holes. We conclude with a discussion of the detectability of these types of transient radio sources in an era of facilities with high mapping speeds.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Piro, Anthony L.0000-0001-6806-0673
Kulkarni, S. R.0000-0001-5390-8563
Additional Information:© 2013 American Astronomical Society. Received 2012 November 2; accepted 2012 November 28; published 2012 December 13. We thank Roger Chevalier, Peter Goldreich, Gregg Hallinan, Mansi Kasliwal, Keiichi Maeda, Brian Metzger, Christian Ott, E. Sterl Phinney, and Eliot Quataert. A.L.P. is supported through NSF grants AST-1212170, PHY-1151197, and PHY-1068881, NASA ATP grant NNX11AC37G, and the Sherman Fairchild Foundation. S.R.K.’s research is in part supported by NSF.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Sherman Fairchild FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:stars: magnetic field; stars: neutron; stars: winds, outflows; white dwarfs
Issue or Number:2
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20131115-075403171
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Official Citation:Radio Transients from the Accretion-induced Collapse of White Dwarfs Anthony L. Piro and S. R. Kulkarni 2013 ApJ 762 L17
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:42479
Deposited By: Ruth Sustaita
Deposited On:15 Nov 2013 17:35
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 05:58

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