The binary white dwarf LHS 3236

Hugh C. Harris, Conard C. Dahn, Trent J. Dupuy, Blaise Canzian, Harry H. Guetter, William I. Hartkopf, Michael J. Ireland, S. K. Leggett, Stephen E. Levine, Michael C. Liu, Christian B. Luginbuhl, Alice K B Monet, Ronald C. Stone, John P. Subasavage, Trudy Tilleman, Richard L. Walker

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    The white dwarf LHS 3236 (WD1639+153) is shown to be a double-degenerate binary, with each component having a high mass. Astrometry at the U.S. Naval Observatory gives a parallax and distance of 30.86 ± 0.25 pc and a tangential velocity of 98 km s-1, and reveals binary orbital motion. The orbital parameters are determined from astrometry of the photocenter over more than three orbits of the 4.0 yr period. High-resolution imaging at the Keck Observatory resolves the pair with a separation of 31 and 124 mas at two epochs. Optical and near-IR photometry give a set of possible binary components. Consistency of all data indicates that the binary is a pair of DA stars with temperatures near 8000 and 7400 K and with masses of 0.93 and 0.91 M ; also possible is a DA primary and a helium DC secondary with temperatures near 8800 and 6000 K and with masses of 0.98 and 0.69 M . In either case, the cooling ages of the stars are ∼3 Gyr and the total ages are <4 Gyr. The combined mass of the binary (1.66-1.84 M ) is well above the Chandrasekhar limit; however, the timescale for coalescence is long.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number21
    Pages (from-to)1-7
    Number of pages7
    JournalAstrophysical Journal
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Dec 2013

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright 2013 The American Astronomical Society. First published in The Astrophysical Journal, 779(1), 21, 2013. The original publication is available at, published by IOP Publishing. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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