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  1. Abstract

    Four years after the discovery of a unique DAQ white dwarf with a hydrogen-dominated and carbon-rich atmosphere, we report the discovery of four new DAQ white dwarfs, including two that were not recognized properly in the literature. We find all five DAQs in a relatively narrow mass and temperature range ofM= 1.14–1.19MandTeff= 13,000–17,000 K. In addition, at least two show photometric variations due to rapid rotation with ≈10 minute periods. All five are also kinematically old, but appear photometrically young, with estimated cooling ages of about 1 Gyr based on standard cooling tracks, and their masses are roughly twice the mass of the most common white dwarfs in the solar neighborhood. These characteristics are smoking gun signatures of white dwarf merger remnants. Comparing the DAQ sample with warm DQ white dwarfs, we demonstrate that there is a range of hydrogen abundances among the warm DQ population and that the distinction between DAQ and warm DQ white dwarfs is superficial. We discuss the potential evolutionary channels for the emergence of the DAQ subclass, suggesting that DAQ white dwarfs are trapped on the crystallization sequence and may remain there for a significant fraction of the Hubble time.

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    We report the discovery of spectroscopic variations in the magnetic DBA white dwarf SDSS J091016.43+210554.2. Follow-up time-resolved spectroscopy at the Apache Point Observatory (APO) and the MMT show significant variations in the H absorption lines over a rotation period of 7.7 or 11.3 h. Unlike recent targets that show similar discrepancies in their H and He line profiles, such as GD 323 and Janus (ZTF J203349.8+322901.1), SDSS J091016.43+210554.2 is confirmed to be magnetic, with a field strength derived from Zeeman-split H and He lines of B ≈ 0.5 MG. Model fits using a H and He atmosphere with a constant abundance ratio across the surface fail to match our time-resolved spectra. On the other hand, we obtain excellent fits using magnetic atmosphere models with varying H/He surface abundance ratios. We use the oblique rotator model to fit the system geometry. The observed spectroscopic variations can be explained by a magnetic inhomogeneous atmosphere where the magnetic axis is offset from the rotation axis by β = 52°, and the inclination angle between the line of sight and the rotation axis is i = 13–16°. This magnetic white dwarf offers a unique opportunity to study the effect of the magnetic field on surface abundances. We propose a model where H is brought to the surface from the deep interior more efficiently along the magnetic field lines, thus producing H polar caps.

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  3. Abstract

    We present the results from our ongoing spectroscopic survey targeting low-mass white dwarf binaries, focusing on the southern sky. We used a Gaia DR2- and eDR3-based selection and identified 28 new binaries, including 19 new extremely low-mass (ELM) white dwarfs, one short period, likely eclipsing, DABZ, and two potential LISA binaries. We present the orbital and atmospheric parameters for each new binary based on our spectroscopic follow up. Four of our new binaries show periodic photometric variability in TESS 2 minutes cadence data, including one new eclipsing double-lined spectroscopic binary. Three others show periodic photometric variability in ZTF, including one new eclipsing binary. We provide estimates for the inclinations and scaled component radii for these ZTF variables, based on light-curve modeling of our high-speed photometric follow-up observations. Our observations have increased the sample of ELM Survey binaries identified in the southern sky to 41, an increase of 64%. Future time domain surveys, such as BlackGEM and the Vera C. Rubin Observatory Legacy Survey of Space and Time, will efficiently identify photometric variables in the southern sky and significantly increase the population of southern sky low-mass white dwarf binaries, leading to a more complete all-sky population of these systems.

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    We search for merger products among the 25 most massive white dwarfs in the Montreal White Dwarf Database 100 pc sample through follow-up spectroscopy and high-cadence photometry. We find an unusually high fraction, 40 per cent, of magnetic white dwarfs among this population. In addition, we identify four outliers in transverse velocity and detect rapid rotation in five objects. Our results show that $56^{+9}_{-10}$ per cent of the $M\approx 1.3\, {\rm M}_{\odot }$ ultramassive white dwarfs form through mergers. This fraction is significantly higher than expected from the default binary population synthesis calculations using the α prescription (with αλ = 2), and provides further support for efficient orbital shrinkage, such as with low values of the common-envelope efficiency.

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  5. A recent analysis of the 100 pc white dwarf sample in the SDSS footprint demonstrated for the first time the existence of a well defined ultracool -- or IR-faint -- white dwarf sequence in the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. Here we take advantage of this discovery to enlarge the IR-faint white dwarf sample threefold. We expand our selection to the entire Pan-STARRS survey footprint as well as the Montreal White Dwarf Database 100 pc sample, and identify 37 candidates with strong flux deficits in the optical. We present follow-up Gemini optical spectroscopy of 30 of these systems, and confirm all of them as IR-faint white dwarfs. We identify an additional set of 33 objects as candidates based on their colors and magnitudes. We present a detailed model atmosphere analysis of all 70 newly identified IR-faint white dwarfs together with 35 previously known objects reported in the literature. We discuss the physics of model atmospheres and show that the key physical ingredient missing in our previous generation of model atmospheres was the high-density correction to the He-minus free-free absorption coefficient. With new model atmospheres calculated for the purpose of this analysis, we now obtain significantly higher effective temperatures and larger stellar masses for these IR-faint white dwarfs than the Teff and M values reported in previous analyses, thus solving a two decade old problem. In particular, we identify in our sample a group of ultramassive white dwarfs in the Debye cooling phase with stellar parameters never measured before. 
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  6. Abstract

    We present the discovery of 17 double white dwarf (WD) binaries from our ongoing search for extremely low mass (ELM) < 0.3MWDs, objects that form from binary evolution. Gaia parallax provides a new means of target selection that we use to evaluate our original ELM Survey selection criteria. Cross-matching the Gaia and Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) catalogs, we identify an additional 36 ELM WD candidates with 17 <g< 19 mag and within the 3σuncertainties of our original color selection. The resulting discoveries imply the ELM Survey sample was 90% complete in the color range −0.4 < (gr)0< −0.1 mag (approximately 9000 K <Teff< 22,000 K). Our observations complete the sample in the SDSS footprint. Two newly discovered binaries, J123950.370−204142.28 and J232208.733+210352.81, have orbital periods of 22.5 and 32 minutes, respectively, and are future Laser Interferometer Space Antenna gravitational-wave sources.

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  7. We present follow-up spectroscopy of 711 white dwarfs within 100 pc, and present a detailed model atmosphere analysis of the 100 pc white dwarf sample in the SDSS footprint. Our spectroscopic follow-up is complete for 83% of the white dwarfs hotter than 6000 K, where the atmospheric composition can be constrained reliably. We identify 1508 DA white dwarfs with pure hydrogen atmospheres. The DA mass distribution has an extremely narrow peak at $0.59~M_{\odot}$, and reveals a shoulder from relatively massive white dwarfs with $M=0.7$-$0.9~M_{\odot}$. Comparing this distribution with binary population synthesis models, we find that the contribution from single stars that form through mergers cannot explain the over-abundance of massive white dwarfs. In addition, the mass distribution of cool DAs shows a near absence of $M>1~M_{\odot}$ white dwarfs. The pile-up of 0.7-$0.9~M_{\odot}$ and the disappearance of $M>1~M_{\odot}$ white dwarfs is consistent with the effects of core crystallization. Even though the evolutionary models predict the location of the pile-up correctly, the delay from the latent heat of crystallization by itself is insufficient to create a significant pile-up, and additional cooling delays from related effects like phase separation are necessary. We also discuss the population of infrared-faint (ultracool) white dwarfs, and demonstrate for the first time the existence of a well defined sequence in color and magnitude. Curiously, this sequence is connected to a region in the color-magnitude diagrams where the number of helium-dominated atmosphere white dwarfs is low. This suggests that the infrared-faint white dwarfs likely have mixed H/He atmospheres. 
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