Studies suggest that the pollution of white dwarf (WD) atmospheres arises from the accretion of minor planets, but the exact properties of polluting material, and in particular the evidence for water in some cases are not yet understood. Several previous works studied the possibility of water surviving inside minor planets around evolving stars. However, they all focused on small, comet-sized to moonlet-sized minor planets, when the inferred mass inside the convection zones of He-dominated WDs could actually be compatible with much more massive minor planets. Here we explore for the first time, the water retention inside exoplanetary dwarf planets, or moderate-sized moons, with radii of the order of hundreds of kilometers. This paper concludes a series of papers that has now covered nearly the entire potential mass range of minor planets, in addition to the full mass range of their host stars. We find that water retention is (a) affected by the mass of the WD progenitor, and (b) it is on average at least 5%, irrespective of the assumed initial water composition, if it came from a single accretion event of an icy dwarf planet or moon. The latter prediction strengthens the possibility of habitability in WD planetary systems, and it may also be used in order to distinguish between pollution originating from multiple small accretion events and singular large accretion events. To conclude our work, we provide a code that calculates ice and water retention by interpolation and may be freely used as a service to the community.
- planetary systems
- white dwarfs