Saturday, October 4, 2014

An Unique White Dwarf-Brown Dwarf Binary

The substellar companion in the eclipsing white dwarf binary SDSS J141126.20+200911.1


Littlefair et al


We present high time resolution SDSS-g′ and SDSS-z′ light curves of the primary eclipse in SDSS J141126.20+200911.1, together with time-resolved X-Shooter spectroscopy and near-infrared JHKs photometry. Our observations confirm the substellar nature of the companion, making SDSS J141126.20+200911.1 the first eclipsing white dwarf/brown dwarf binary known. We measure a (white dwarf model dependent) mass and radius for the brown dwarf companion of M2=0.050±0.002 M⊙ and R2=0.072±0.004 M⊙, respectively. The lack of a robust detection of the companion light in the z′-band eclipse constrains the spectral type of the companion to be later than L5. Comparing the NIR photometry to the expected white dwarf flux reveals a clear Ks-band excess, suggesting a spectral type in the range L7-T1.

The radius measurement is consistent with the predictions of evolutionary models, and suggests a system age in excess of three Gyr. The low companion mass is inconsistent with the inferred spectral type of L7-T1, instead predicting a spectral type nearer T5. This indicates that irradiation of the companion in SDSS J1411 could be causing a significant temperature increase, at least on one hemisphere.

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