Wolf 1130: A Nearby Triple System Containing a Cool, Ultramassive White Dwarf

February 2018 • 2018ApJ...854..145M

Authors • Mace, Gregory N. • Mann, Andrew W. • Skiff, Brian A. • Sneden, Christopher • Kirkpatrick, J. Davy • Schneider, Adam C. • Kidder, Benjamin • Gosnell, Natalie M. • Kim, Hwihyun • Mulligan, Brian W. • Prato, L. • Jaffe, Daniel

Abstract • Following the discovery of the T8 subdwarf WISE J200520.38+542433.9 (Wolf 1130C), which has a proper motion in common with a binary (Wolf 1130AB) consisting of an M subdwarf and a white dwarf, we set out to learn more about the old binary in the system. We find that the A and B components of Wolf 1130 are tidally locked, which is revealed by the coherence of more than a year of V-band photometry phase-folded to the derived orbital period of 0.4967 days. Forty new high-resolution, near-infrared spectra obtained with the Immersion Grating Infrared Spectrometer provide radial velocities and a projected rotational velocity (v sin i) of 14.7 ± 0.7 {km} {{{s}}}-1 for the M subdwarf. In tandem with a Gaia parallax-derived radius and verified tidal locking, we calculate an inclination of i = 29° ± 2°. From the single-lined orbital solution and the inclination we derive an absolute mass for the unseen primary ({1.24}-0.15+0.19 M ). Its non-detection between 0.2 and 2.5 μm implies that it is an old (>3.7 Gyr) and cool (T eff < 7000 K) ONe white dwarf. This is the first ultramassive white dwarf within 25 pc. The evolution of Wolf 1130AB into a cataclysmic variable is inevitable, making it a potential SN Ia progenitor. The formation of a triple system with a primary mass >100 times the tertiary mass and the survival of the system through the common-envelope phase, where ∼80% of the system mass was lost, is remarkable. Our analysis of Wolf 1130 allows us to infer its formation and evolutionary history, which has unique implications for understanding low-mass star and brown dwarf formation around intermediate-mass stars.


IPAC Authors


Davy Kirkpatrick

Senior Scientist