Double white dwarf (double-WD) binaries may merge within a Hubble time and produce high-mass WDs. Compared to other high-mass WDs, the double-WD merger products have higher velocity dispersion because they are older. With the power of Gaia data, we show strong evidence for double-WD merger products among high-mass WDs by analyzing the transverse-velocity distribution of more than 1000 high-mass WDs (0.8-1.3 M⊙). We estimate that the fraction of double-WD merger products in our sample is about 20%. We also obtain a precise double-WD merger rate and its mass dependence. Our merger rate estimates are close to binary population synthesis results and support the idea that double-WD mergers may contribute to a significant fraction of type Ia supernovae.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- March 2020
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies;
- Astrophysics - High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena
- 9 pages, 5 figures