We searched through the entire Gaia EDR3 candidate white dwarf catalog for stars with proper motions and positions that are consistent with them having escaped from the Alpha Persei cluster within the past 81 Myr, the age of the cluster. In this search we found five candidate white dwarf escapees from Alpha Persei and obtained spectra for all of them. We confirm that three are massive white dwarfs sufficiently young to have originated in the cluster. All these are more massive than any white dwarf previously associated with a cluster using Gaia astrometry, and possess some of the most massive progenitors. In particular, the white dwarf Gaia EDR3 4395978097863572, which lies within 25 pc of the cluster center, has a mass of about 1.20 solar masses and evolved from an 8.5 solar-mass star, pushing the upper limit for white dwarf formation from a single massive star, while still leaving a substantial gap between the resulting white dwarf mass and the Chandrasekhar mass.
The Astrophysical Journal
- Pub Date:
- February 2022
- Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics;
- Astrophysics - Astrophysics of Galaxies
- 9 pages, 3 figures. Minor changes in this version