Identifying and Characterizing New Nearby White Dwarfs

J. P. Subasavage, T. J. Henry, P. Bergeron, P. Dufour, N. C. Hambly, T. D. Beaulieu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

How confident are we that all of the nearest white dwarfs (WDs) have been identified? In an effort to answer this question, we have begun an initiative to identify and characterize new nearby WDs, particularly in the southern hemisphere. We estimate physical parameters for new WDs using medium resolution (R ˜ 1000) optical spectroscopy, and distances using optical photometry combined with 2MASS near-infrared photometry. For objects within 25 pc (Catalog of Nearby Stars, and NStars Database horizons), we determine a trigonometric parallax via CTIOPI (Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory Parallax Investigation). Of the 37 new WD systems discovered so far, fourteen are likely within 25 pc, a volume that contains 107 WDs with trigonometric parallaxes. Interesting objects include two that are likely double degenerates including one with a magnetic component, one that is a cool (Teff˜ 5000 K) likely mixed atmosphere WD with deficient flux at near-infrared wavelengths, and two that are metal-rich. Observations are underway via the Hubble Space Telescope to resolve four potential double degenerates (the new magnetic WD and three other previously known WDs) for dynamical mass determinations. All ground-based observations are obtained as part of the SMARTS (Small and Moderate Aperture Research Telescope System) Consortium at CTIO.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53
JournalAstronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series
Volume372
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2007

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