Spectral analysis of 636 white dwarf-M star binaries from the sloan digital sky survey
Hamburger Sternwarte (Universität Hamburg), Gojenbergsweg 112, 21029 Hamburg, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
2 Institut für Astrophysik, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1. 37077 Göttingen, Germany e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
3 Institut für Astrophysik, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Friedrich-Hund-Platz 1. 37077 Göttingen, Germany e-mail: email@example.com
4 Institute of Astronomy, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200D, 3001 Leuven, Belgium e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 3 October 2008
Context. We present a catalog of 857 white dwarf (WD)-M binaries from the sixth data release (DR6) of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), most of which were previously identified. For 636 of them, we complete a spectral analysis and derive the basic parameters of their stellar constituents and their distances from Earth.
Aims. We attempt to measure fundamental parameters of these systems by completing spectral analyses. We propose to test models typically applied in fitting procedures and constrain likely and appropriate evolutionary scenarios for the systems.
Methods. We use a minimization technique to decompose each combined spectrum and derive independent parameter estimates for its components. The possibility of alignment by chance is demoted to statistical insignificance, hence, we use physical interaction of the binary constituents as input parameter. Additionally, we check the corresponding photometric data from the SDSS to find optically resolved systems.
Results. Forty-one of the stellar duets in our spectroscopic sample are optically resolved in their respective SDSS images. For these systems, we also derive a minimum true spatial separation and a lower limit to their orbital periods, typically which are some 104 yr. Spectra of 167 stellar duets show significant hydrogen emission and in most cases no additional He i or He ii features. We also find that 20 of the 636 WDs are fitted to be DOs, with 16 measured to have around 40 000 K. Furthermore, we identify 70 very low-mass objects (VLMOs), which are secondaries of masses smaller than about 0.1 , to be candidate substellar companions.
Conclusions. Although various selection effects may play a role, the fraction 6.4% of WD-M star binaries with orbital separations of around 500 AU is a criterion for evolutionary models of stellar binary systems. Of the 167 spectra with hydrogen emission, 8 had already been found to be post-common envelope binaries (PCEBs) and 4 are systems with strong irradiation processes on the M dwarf. The remaining 155 Balmer-emitting binaries probably harbor an active M dwarf (dM), corresponding to a fraction of 24.4%. The excess of cool DOs is most likely due to additional WDs in the DB-DO range, for which no detailed fitting was completed. The trend of the M stars being closer to Earth than the WD component is probably due to an underestimation of the theoretical M star radii.
Key words: binaries: spectroscopic / white dwarfs / stars: late-type / stars: fundamental parameters / methods: data analysis / binaries: visual
© ESO, 2009