White dwarf luminosities are powerful age indicators, whose calibration should be based on reliable models. We discuss the uncertainty of some chemical and physical parameters and their influence on the age estimated by means of white dwarf cooling sequences. Models at the beginning of the white dwarf sequence have been obtained on the basis of progenitor evolutionary tracks computed starting from the zero-age horizontal branch and for a typical halo chemical composition (Z = 0.0001, Y = 0.23). The uncertainties due to nuclear reaction rates, convection, mass loss, and initial chemical composition are discussed. Then, various cooling sequences for a typical white dwarf mass (M = 0.6 M-.) have been calculated under different assumptions on some input physics, namely, conductive opacity, contribution of the ion-electron interaction to the free energy, and microscopic diffusion. Finally, we present the evolution of white dwarfs having mass ranging between 0.5 and 0.9 M-.. Much effort has been spent to extend the equation of state down to the low-temperature and high-density regime. An analysis of the latest improvement in the physics of white dwarf interiors is presented. We conclude that at the faint end of the cooling sequence [log(L/L-.) similar to -5.5] the present overall uncertainty on the age is of the order of 20%, which corresponds to about 3 Gyr. We suggest that this uncertainty could be substantially reduced by improving our knowledge of the conductive opacity ( especially in the partially degenerate regime) and by xing the internal strati cation of C and O.
|Autori:||Prada Moroni P; Straniero O|
|Titolo:||Calibration of white dwarf cooling sequences: Theoretical uncertainty|
|Anno del prodotto:||2002|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||10.1086/344052|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|