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Constraints on the age and evolution of the Galaxy from the white dwarf luminosity functionThe white dwarf disk luminosity function is explored using observational results of Liebert et al. (1988, 1989) as a template for comparison, and the cooling curves of Wood (1990, 1991) as the input basis functions for the integration. The star formation rate over the history of the Galaxy is found to be constant to within an order of magnitude, and the disk age lies in the range 6-13.5 Gyr, where roughly 40 percent of the uncertainty is due to the observational uncertainties. Using the best current estimates as inputs to the integration, the disk ages range from 7.5 to 11 Gyr, i.e., they are substantially younger than most estimates for the halo globular clusters but in reasonable agreement with those for the disk globular clusters and open clusters. The ages of these differing populations, taken together, are consistent with the pressure-supported collapse models of early spiral Galactic evolution.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Wood, M. A. (Texas, University Austin; Montreal, Universite, Montreal, Canada)
Date Acquired
August 15, 2013
Publication Date
February 20, 1992
Publication Information
Publication: Astrophysical Journal, Part 1
Volume: 386
ISSN: 0004-637X
Subject Category
Distribution Limits