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Discovery of the first resolved triple white dwarf

M Perpinyà-Vallès A Rebassa-Mansergas B T Gänsicke S Toonen J J Hermes N P Gentile Fusillo P-E Tremblay
Discovery of the first resolved triple white dwarf


White dwarfs are the most common stellar remnants. They have the size of the Earth, but they can be as massive as the Sun, therefore they are extremely dense. Due to this peculiarity, white dwarfs can not exceed a limit of mass, about 1.4 times the mass of the Sun. If that happens, the white dwarf explodes as supernova type Ia (SNIa), one of the most luminous events of the Universe. A possible way to produce SNI is for collisions of white dwarfs in a triple-solved system. However, this configuration has never been observed, until now. In our work we present the discovery of the first observed system of three white dwarfs resolved (see figure), identified thanks to the Gaia satellite. By measuring the stellar parameters of the three white dwarfs we have shown that the probability exists, even if it is small, because the two internal white dwarfs of the system collide and explode as SNIa in the near future.

 

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