Volume 368, Number 3, March IV 2001
|Page(s)||939 - 949|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||15 March 2001|
Population synthesis for double white dwarfs
II. Semi-detached systems: AM CVn stars
Astronomical Institute "Anton Pannekoek", Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Massachusetts Ave. 77, Cambridge MA 02139, USA
3 Astronomical Institute, Utrecht University, PO Box 80000, 3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands
4 Institute of Astronomy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, 48 Pyatnitskaya Str., 109017 Moscow, Russia
Corresponding author: G. Nelemans, GijsN@astro.uva.nl
Accepted: 2 January 2001
We study two models for AM CVn stars: white dwarfs accreting (i) from a helium white dwarf companion and (ii) from a helium-star donor. We show that in the first model possibly no accretion disk forms at the onset of the mass transfer. The stability and the rate of mass transfer then depend on the tidal coupling between the accretor and the orbital motion. In the second model the formation of AM CVn stars may be prevented by detonation of the CO white dwarf accretor and the disruption of the system. With the most favourable conditions for the formation of AM CVn stars we find a current Galactic birth rate of . Unfavourable conditions give . The expected total number of the systems in the Galaxy is 9.4 107 and 1.6 107, respectively. We model very simple selection effects to get some idea about the currently expected observable population and discuss the (quite good) agreement with the observed systems.
Key words: stars: white dwarfs / stars: statistics / binaries: close / binaries: evolution
© ESO, 2001
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