Helium core white dwarfs in globular clusters

Brad M.S. Hansen*, Vassiliki Kalogera, Frederic A. Rasio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


We examine the theoretical implications of a population of low-mass helium core white dwarfs in globular clusters. In particular, we focus on the observed population in the core of NGC 6397, where several low-mass white dwarf candidates have been identified as "nonflickerers" by Cool and collaborators. Age and mass estimates from cooling models, combined with dynamical and evolutionary considerations, lead us to infer that the dark binary companions are C/O white dwarfs rather than neutron stars. Furthermore, we find that the progenitor binaries very likely underwent an exchange interaction within the last 109 yr. We examine the prospects for detecting a similar population in other globular clusters, with particular attention to the case of 47 Tuc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1364-1373
Number of pages10
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2 I
StatePublished - Apr 1 2003


  • Binaries: close
  • Globular clusters: general
  • Globular clusters: individual (NGC 6397, 47 Tucanae)
  • Hertzsprung-Russell diagram
  • Stellar dynamics
  • White dwarfs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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