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General relativistic orbital decay in a seven-minute-orbital-period eclipsing binary system

Burdge, Kevin B. and Coughlin, Michael W. and Fuller, Jim and Kupfer, Thomas and Bellm, Eric C. and Bildsten, Lars and Graham, Matthew J. and Kaplan, David L. and van Roestel, Jan and Dekany, Richard G. and Duev, Dmitry A. and Feeney, Michael and Giomi, Matteo and Helou, George and Kaye, Stephen and Laher, Russ R. and Mahabal, Ashish A. and Masci, Frank J. and Riddle, Reed and Shupe, David L. and Soumagnac, Maayane T. and Smith, Roger M. and Szkody, Paula and Walters, Richard and Kulkarni, Shrinivas R. and Prince, Thomas A. (2019) General relativistic orbital decay in a seven-minute-orbital-period eclipsing binary system. Nature, 571 (7767). pp. 528-531. ISSN 0028-0836.

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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 1 Corner plots of lightcurve modelling) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 2: Fits to archival PTF/iPTF data) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 3: Orbital decay measured with CHIMERA and KPED) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 4: Radial-velocity measurements of ZTFJ1539 + 5027) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 5: Binary evolution models) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Fig. 6: X-ray and optical constraints on accretion in ZTFJ1539 + 5027) - Supplemental Material
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[img] MS Excel (Source Data Fig. 2 (.csv)) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Image (JPEG) (Extended Data Table 1 Summary of observations) - Supplemental Material
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General relativity predicts that short-orbital-period binaries emit considerable amounts of gravitational radiation. The upcoming Laser Interferometer Space Antenna (LISA) is expected to detect tens of thousands of such systems but few have been identified4, of which only one5 is eclipsing—the double-white-dwarf binary SDSS J065133.338+284423.37, which has an orbital period of 12.75 minutes. Here we report the discovery of an eclipsing double-white-dwarf binary system, ZTF J153932.16+502738.8, with an orbital period of 6.91 minutes. This system has an orbit so compact that the entire binary could fit within the diameter of the planet Saturn. The system exhibits a deep eclipse, and a double-lined spectroscopic nature. We see rapid orbital decay, consistent with that expected from general relativity. ZTF J153932.16+502738.8 is a strong source of gravitational radiation close to the peak of LISA’s sensitivity, and we expect it to be detected within the first week of LISA observations, once LISA launches in approximately 2034.

Item Type:Article
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URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access Paper
Burdge, Kevin B.0000-0002-7226-836X
Coughlin, Michael W.0000-0002-8262-2924
Fuller, Jim0000-0002-4544-0750
Kupfer, Thomas0000-0002-6540-1484
Bellm, Eric C.0000-0001-8018-5348
Graham, Matthew J.0000-0002-3168-0139
Kaplan, David L.0000-0001-6295-2881
van Roestel, Jan0000-0002-2626-2872
Duev, Dmitry A.0000-0001-5060-8733
Helou, George0000-0003-3367-3415
Laher, Russ R.0000-0003-2451-5482
Mahabal, Ashish A.0000-0003-2242-0244
Masci, Frank J.0000-0002-8532-9395
Riddle, Reed0000-0002-0387-370X
Shupe, David L.0000-0003-4401-0430
Soumagnac, Maayane T.0000-0001-6753-1488
Walters, Richard0000-0002-1835-6078
Kulkarni, Shrinivas R.0000-0001-5390-8563
Prince, Thomas A.0000-0002-8850-3627
Alternate Title:General Relativistic Orbital Decay in a 7 Minute Orbital Period Eclipsing Binary System
Additional Information:© 2019 Springer Nature Publishing AG Received 21 February 2019. Accepted 23 May 2019. Published 24 July 2019. K.B.B. thanks the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Heising Simons Foundation for supporting his research. This work was based on observations obtained with the Samuel Oschin Telescope 48-inch and the 60-inch Telescope at the Palomar Observatory as part of the Zwicky Transient Facility project. ZTF is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant number AST-1440341 and a collaboration including Caltech, IPAC, the Weizmann Institute for Science, the Oskar Klein Center at Stockholm University, the University of Maryland, the University of Washington (UW), Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron and Humboldt University, Los Alamos National Laboratories, the TANGO Consortium of Taiwan, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee, and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories. Operations are conducted by Caltech Optical Observatories, IPAC, and the University of Washington. The KPED team thanks the National Science Foundation and the National Optical Astronomical Observatory for making the Kitt Peak 2.1-m telescope available. The KPED team thanks the National Science Foundation, the National Optical Astronomical Observatory and the Murty family for support in the building and operation of KPED. In addition, they thank the CHIMERA project for use of the Electron Multiplying CCD (EMCCD). Some of the data presented herein were obtained at the W. M. Keck Observatory, which is operated as a scientific partnership among the California Institute of Technology, the University of California and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The Observatory was made possible by the generous financial support of the W. M. Keck Foundation. We wish to recognize and acknowledge the very important cultural role and reverence that the summit of Mauna Kea has always had within the indigenous Hawaiian community. We are most fortunate to have the opportunity to conduct observations from this mountain. This research benefited from interactions at the ZTF Theory Network Meeting that were funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation through grant GBMF5076 and support from the National Science Foundation through PHY-1748958. We thank J. Hoffman, the creator of cuvarbase. We thank T. Marsh, S. Phinney and V. Korol for discussions. We thank G. Hallinan and C. Fremling for helping to observe the object. Author Contributions: K.B.B. discovered the object, conducted the lightcurve analysis and eclipse time analysis, and was the primary author of the manuscript. K.B.B. and M.W.C. conducted the spectroscopic analysis. K.B.B., M.W.C. and T.A.P. conducted the combined mass–radius analysis. K.B.B. and M.W.C. reduced the optical data. K.B.B., M.W.C. and D.L.K. reduced and analysed the X-ray observations. J.F. conducted the theoretical analysis, including that on tides, and developed the MESA evolutionary models. K.B.B., M.W.C., T.K., S.R.K., J.v.R. and T.A.P. all contributed to collecting data on the object. K.B.B., M.W.C., J.F., T.K., E.C.B., L.B., M.J.G., D.L.K., J.v.R., S.R.K. and T.A.P. contributed to the physical interpretation of the object. T.K., E.C.B., R.G.D., M.F., M.G., S.K., R.R.L., A.A.M., F.J.M., R.R., D.L.S., M.T.S., R.M.S., P.S. and R.W. contributed to the implementation of ZTF; M.J.G. is the project scientist, T.A.P. and G.H. are co-PIs, and S.R.K. is the PI of ZTF. R.G.D., D.A.D., M.F. and R.R. contributed to the implementation of KPED; M.W.C. is project scientist, and S.R.K. is PI of KPED. T.A.P. is K.B.B.’s PhD advisor. Data availability: Upon request, K.B.B. will provide reduced photometric and spectroscopic data, and available ZTF data for the object. We have included the eclipse time data used to construct the orbital decay diagram in Fig. 2a, and Extended Data Figs. 2 and 3. The X-ray observations are already in the public domain, and their observation IDs have been supplied in the text. The proprietary period for the spectroscopic data will expire at the start of 2020, at which point this data will also be public and readily accessible. Code availability: Upon request, K.B.B. will provide the code (primarily in Python) used to analyse the observations and data such as the posterior distributions used to produce the figures in the text (MATLAB was used to generate most of the figures). The authors declare no competing interests.
Group:Infrared Processing and Analysis Center (IPAC), Zwicky Transient Facility, Astronomy Department
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Heising-Simons FoundationUNSPECIFIED
ZTF Partner InstitutionsUNSPECIFIED
W. M. Keck FoundationUNSPECIFIED
Gordon and Betty Moore FoundationGBMF5076
Issue or Number:7767
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190514-142944629
Persistent URL:
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:95495
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:24 Jul 2019 17:06
Last Modified:28 Oct 2019 19:55

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