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Rocky debris pollution of single white dwarfs in systems with no planets

Presentation #107.05 in the session “Asynchronous Posters”.

Published onJun 01, 2021
Rocky debris pollution of single white dwarfs in systems with no planets

A widely-held assumption is that white dwarfs containing observable rocky debris require the presence of at least one planet to have gravitationally perturbed the progenitor of the debris into the star. However, protoplanetary discs which fail to form planets could leave behind asteroids, boulders, pebbles and dust, as seen in the solar system’s main belt. These small bodies can persist throughout the host star’s evolution into a white dwarf, and then be radiatively dragged into the white dwarf without the help of a planet. Here we identify the parameter space and timescales for which this mechanism is feasible by considering and coupling Poynting-Robertson drag, the Yarkovsky effect and the YORP effect solely from white dwarf radiation.


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