A Benchmark White Dwarf-Ultracool Dwarf Wide Field Binary

Thiago Ferreira, Roberto K. Saito, Dante Minniti, Andrea Mejías, Claudio Caceres, Javier Alonso-García, Juan Carlos Beamín, Leigh C. Smith, Matías Gomez, Philip W. Lucas, Valentin D. Ivanov

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We present the discovery and multi-wavelength characterisation of VVV J1438-6158 AB, a new field wide-binary system consisting of a 4.6(+5.5-2.4) Gyr and Teff = 9500+/-125 K DA white dwarf (WD) and a Teff = 2400+/-50 K M8 ultracool dwarf (UCD). The projected separation of the system is a = 1236.73 au (~13.8"), and although along the line-of-sight towards the Scorpius-Centaurus (Sco-Cen) stellar association, VVV J1438-6158 AB is likely to be a field star, from a kinematic 6D probabilistic analysis. We estimated the physical, and dynamical parameters of both components via interpolations with theoretical models and evolutionary tracks, which allowed us to retrieve a mass of 0.62+/-0.18 MSun for the WD, and a mass of 98.5+/-6.2 MJup (~0.094+/-0.006 MSun) for the UCD. The radii of the two components were also estimated at 0.01309+/-0.0003 RSun and 1.22+/-0.05 RJup, respectively. VVV J1438-6158 AB stands out as a benchmark system for comprehending the evolution of WDs and low-mass companions given its status as one of the most widely separated WD+UCD systems known to date, which likely indicates that both components may have evolved independently of each other, and also being characterised by a large mass-ratio (q = 0.15+/-0.04), which likely indicates a formation pathway similar to that of stellar binary systems.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberstad3911
Pages (from-to)10737-10747
Number of pages11
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 19 Dec 2023


  • astro-ph.SR


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