T-2, Nuclear and Particle Physics, Astrophysics and Cosmology

White Dwarf Bounds on CHAMPs

Michael Fedderke

White dwarfs effectively act as high-gain amplifiers for relatively small energy deposits within their volume via their supernova instability. In this talk, I will discuss the ways a galactic abundance of O(1)-charged massive relics (i.e., CHAMPs) could trigger this instability, thereby destroying old WD. The dense central core structure formed inside the WD when heavy CHAMPs sink to its center can trigger a supernova via injection of energy during collapse phases, via direct density-enhanced (pycnonuclear) fusion processes of carbon nuclei dragged into the core by the CHAMPs, or via the formation of a black hole (BH) at the center of the WD. In the latter scenario, Hawking radiation from the BH can ignite the star if the BH forms with a sufficiently small mass; if the BH instead forms at large enough mass, heating of carbon nuclei that accrete onto the BH as it grows in size may be able to achieve the same outcome (with the conservative alternative being simply that the WD is devoured by the BH). I will show how the known existence of old WD that have not been destroyed by these mechanisms enables an improvement by many orders of magnitude on the existing CHAMP abundance constraints in the regime of large CHAMP mass, mX ~ 1e11?1e18 GeV. I will also offer some rough speculations that, in certain regions of parameter space, this setup could provide a trigger mechanism for the calcium-rich gap transients: a class of anomalous, sub-luminous supernova events that occur far outside of a host galaxy.


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