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Astron. Astrophys. 335, L85-L88 (1998)

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Letter to the Editor

Formation of undermassive single white dwarfs and the influence of planets on late stellar evolution

G. Nelemans and T.M. Tauris

Astronomical Institute "Anton Pannekoek", University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Received 18 May 1998 / Accepted 1 June 1998


We propose a scenario to form low-mass, single, slow rotating white dwarfs from a solar-like star accompanied by a massive planet, or a brown dwarf, in a relatively close orbit (e.g. HD 89707). Such white dwarfs were recently found by Maxted & Marsh (1998). When the solar-like star ascends the giant branch it captures the planet and the subsequent spiral-in phase expels the envelope of the giant leaving a low-mass helium white dwarf remnant. In case the planet evaporizes, or fills its own Roche-lobe, the outcome is a single undermassive white dwarf. The observed distribution of planetary systems supports the applicability of this scenario.

Key words: stars: giant, mass-loss, planetary systems – binaries: evolution – white dwarfs: formation

Send offprint requests to: gijsn@astro.uva.nl

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1998

Online publication: June 26, 1998