Volume 531, July 2011
|Number of page(s)||5|
|Published online||08 July 2011|
Letter to the Editor
Solution to the problem of the surface gravity distribution of cool DA white dwarfs from improved 3D model atmospheres⋆
Département de Physique, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada
e-mail: email@example.com; firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Zentrum für Astronomie der Universität Heidelberg, Landessternwarte, Königstuhl 12, 69117 Heidelberg, Germany
3 Leibniz-Institut für Astrophysik Potsdam, An der Sternwarte 16, 14482 Potsdam, Germany
4 CNRS, Université de Lyon, École Normale Supérieure de Lyon, 46 allée d’Italie, 69364 Lyon Cedex 7, France
Received: 20 May 2011
Accepted: 28 June 2011
The surface gravities of cool (Teff < 13 000 K) hydrogen-atmosphere DA white dwarfs, determined from spectroscopic analyses, are found to be significantly higher than the canonical value of log g ~ 8 expected for these stars. It was recently concluded that a problem with the treatment of convective energy transport within the framework of the mixing-length theory was the most plausible explanation for this high-log g problem. We pursue the investigation of this discrepancy by computing model spectra of cool convective white dwarfs from a small sequence (11 300 K < Teff < 12 800 K) of 3D hydrodynamical model atmospheres, which feature a sophisticated treatment of convection and radiative transfer. Our approach is to proceed with a differential analysis between 3D and standard 1D models. We find that the 3D spectra predict significantly lower surface gravities, with corrections of the right amplitude as a function of effective temperature to obtain values of log g ~ 8 on average. We conclude that the surface gravity distribution of cool convective DA white dwarfs is much closer to that of hotter radiative objects when using, for the treatment of the convection, 3D models instead of the mixing-length framework.
Key words: convection / line: profiles / stars: atmospheres / white dwarfs
© ESO, 2011
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