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Title: Discovery of dipolar chromospheres in two white dwarfs

This paper reports the ULTRACAM discovery of dipolar surface spots in two cool magnetic white dwarfs with Balmer emission lines, while a third system exhibits a single spot, similar to the prototype GD 356. The light curves are modelled with simple, circular, isothermal dark spots, yielding relatively large regions with minimum angular radii of 20°. For those stars with two light-curve minima, the dual spots are likely observed at high inclination (or colatitude); however, identical and antipodal spots cannot simultaneously reproduce both the distinct minima depths and the phases of the light-curve maxima. The amplitudes of the multiband photometric variability reported here are all several times larger than that observed in the prototype GD 356; nevertheless, all DAHe stars with available data appear to have light-curve amplitudes that increase towards the blue in correlated ratios. This behaviour is consistent with cool spots that produce higher contrasts at shorter wavelengths, with remarkably similar spectral properties given the diversity of magnetic field strengths and rotation rates. These findings support the interpretation that some magnetic white dwarfs generate intrinsic chromospheres as they cool, and that no external source is responsible for the observed temperature inversion. Spectroscopic time-series data for DAHe stars is paramount for further characterization, where it is important to obtain well-sampled data, and consider wavelength shifts, equivalent widths, and spectropolarimetry.

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Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Oxford University Press
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 1097-1105
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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