AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 5 White Dwarfs: Properties and Companions
Poster, Monday, 9:20am-7:00pm, January 9, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[5.02] Simulating Binary White Dwarf Mergers

N. Hearn, G. C. Jordan, T. Plewa (ASC Flash Center / Univ. of Chicago)

The most favored theoretical models for Type Ia supernovae involve closely orbiting pairs of stars, in which at least one star is a white dwarf. If both stars are white dwarfs, and the stars become sufficiently close through orbital decay, there are two possible outcomes for the system. The two cores may be drawn into a common material envelope and merge. Alternately, if there is a significant difference in mass, the less massive white dwarf may be disrupted, forming an accretion disk around the more massive one. In either scenerio, there may be regimes where a Type Ia supernova results. By combining a Helmholtz equation of state and a nuclear alpha network with the Tillamook SPH code, we are able to perform a study of merging white dwarfs, varying the masses of the individual stars, as well as the orbital parameters. We present results from our research, including an assessment of the likelihood of Type Ia supernova events from various configurations.

This work is supported in part by the U. S. Department of Energy under grant no. B523820 to the Center for Astrophysical Thermonuclear Flashes at the University of Chicago.

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