We investigated the relationship between the kinematics and mass of young (<3 × 108 yr) white dwarfs using proper motions. Our sample is taken from the colour-selected catalogues of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the Palomar-Green Survey, both of which have spectroscopic temperature and gravity determinations. We find that the dispersion decreases with increasing white dwarf mass. This can be explained as a result of less scattering by objects in the Galactic disc during the shorter lifetime of their more massive progenitors. A direct result of this is that white dwarfs with high mass have a reduced scale height, and hence their local density is enhanced over their less massive counterparts. In addition, we have investigated whether the kinematics of the highest mass white dwarfs (>0.95 M⊙) are consistent with the expected relative contributions of single star evolution and mergers. We find that the kinematics are consistent with the majority of high-mass white dwarfs being formed through single star evolution.
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
- Pub Date:
- October 2012
- white dwarfs;
- Galaxy: kinematics and dynamics;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
- 14 pages, 15 figures. Accepted by MNRAS