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The Signature of Single-degenerate Accretion-induced Collapse

Piro, Anthony L. and Thompson, Todd A. (2014) The Signature of Single-degenerate Accretion-induced Collapse. Astrophysical Journal, 794 (1). Art. No. 28. ISSN 0004-637X.

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The accretion-induced collapse (AIC) of a white dwarf to a neutron star has long been suggested as a natural theoretical outcome in stellar evolution, but there has never been a direct detection of such an event. This is not surprising since the small amount of radioactive nickel synthesized (~10^(−3) M_☉) implies a relatively dim optical transient. Here we argue that a particularly strong signature of an AIC would occur for an oxygen–neon–magnesium (ONeMg) white dwarf accreting from a star that is experiencing Roche-lobe overflow as it becomes a red giant. In such cases, the ~10^(50) erg explosion from the AIC collides with and shock-heats the surface of the extended companion, creating an X-ray flash lasting ~1 hr followed by an optical signature that peaks at an absolute magnitude of ~ −16 to −18 and lasts for a few days to a week. These events would be especially striking in old stellar environments where hydrogen-rich supernova-like transients would not normally be expected. Although the rate of such events is not currently known, we describe observing strategies that could be utilized with high cadence surveys that should either detect these events or place strong constraints on their rates.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription Paper
Piro, Anthony L.0000-0001-6806-0673
Additional Information:© 2014 American Astronomical Society. Received 2014 June 12; accepted 2014 August 8; published 2014 September 22. We thank Drew Clausen for assistance with MESA to generate RGB and AGB models and discussions about binary evolution scenarios.We thank Selma de Mink for insight on binary interactions, Eric Bellm for feedback on rates, and Josiah Schwab for help with MESA. We also thank Edo Berger, Ryan Chornock, Dan Kasen, Christopher Kochanek, Brian Metzger, and Christian Ott for comments on previous drafts. We thank the Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particle Physics for funding ALP’s visit to Ohio State University, where this work began. A.L.P. is supported through NSF grants AST-1205732, PHY-1068881, PHY-1151197, and the Sherman Fairchild Foundation.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Center for Cosmology and Astro-Particle PhysicsUNSPECIFIED
Sherman Fairchild FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Subject Keywords:accretion, accretion disks; binaries: close; supernovae: general; white dwarfs
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20141106-094123226
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Official Citation:The Signature of Single-degenerate Accretion-induced Collapse Anthony L. Piro and Todd A. Thompson 2014 ApJ 794 28
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:51357
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:06 Nov 2014 20:43
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 07:32

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