Discovery of Three Self-lensing Binaries from Kepler

Hajime Kawahara, Kento Masuda, Morgan Macleod, David W. Latham, Allyson Bieryla, Othman Benomar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report the discovery of three edge-on binaries with white dwarf (WD) companions that gravitationally magnify (instead of eclipsing) the light of their stellar primaries, as revealed by a systematic search for pulses with long periods in the Kepler photometry. We jointly model the self-lensing light curves and radial-velocity orbits to derive the WD masses, all of which are close to 0.6 solar masses. The orbital periods are long, ranging from 419 to 728 days, and the eccentricities are low, all less than 0.2. These characteristics are reminiscent of the orbits found for many blue stragglers in open clusters and the field, for which stable mass transfer due to Roche-lobe overflow from an evolving primary (now a WD) has been proposed as the formation mechanism. Because the actual masses for our three WD companions have been accurately determined, these self-lensing systems would provide excellent tests for models of interacting binaries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number144
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2018


  • blue stragglers
  • techniques: photometric
  • techniques: radial velocities
  • white dwarfs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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