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Title: A Magnetic White Dwarf with Five Hα Components
G183−35 is an unusual white dwarf that shows an Hα line split into five components, instead of the usual three components seen in strongly magnetic white dwarfs. Potential explanations for the unusual set of lines includes a double degenerate system containing two magnetic white dwarfs and/or rotational modulation of a complex magnetic field structure. Here we present time-resolved spectroscopy of G183−35 obtained at the Gemini Observatory. These data reveal two sets of absorption lines that appear and disappear over a period of about 4 hours. We also detect low-level (0.2%) variability in optical photometry at the same period. We demonstrate that the spectroscopic and photometric variability can be explained by the presence of spots on the surface of the white dwarf and a change in the average field strength from about 4.6 MG to 6.2 MG. The observed variability is clearly due to G183−35’s relatively short spin period. However, rotational modulation of a complex magnetic field by itself cannot explain the changes seen in the central Hα component. An additional source of variability in the line profiles, most likely due to a chemically inhomogeneous surface composition, is also needed. We propose further observations of similar objects to test this scenario.
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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
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National Science Foundation
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