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  1. Abstract White dwarf (WD) stars evolve simply and predictably, making them reliable age indicators. However, self-consistent validation of the methods for determining WD total ages has yet to be widely performed. This work uses 1565 wide (>100 au) WD+WD binaries and 24 new triples containing at least two WDs to test the accuracy and validity of WD total age determinations. For these 1589 wide double WD binaries and triples, we derive the total age of each WD using photometric data from all-sky surveys, in conjunction with Gaia parallaxes and current hydrogen atmosphere WD models. Ignoring the initial-to-final mass relation andmore »considering only WD cooling ages, we find that roughly 21%–36% of the more massive WDs in a system have a shorter cooling age. Since more massive WDs should be born as more massive main-sequence stars, we interpret this unphysical disagreement as evidence of prior mergers or the presence of an unresolved companion, suggesting that roughly 21%–36% of wide WD+WD binaries were once triples. Among the 423 wide WD+WD pairs that pass high-fidelity cuts, we find that 25% total age uncertainties are generally appropriate for WDs with masses >0.63 M ⊙ and temperatures <12,000 K and provide suggested inflation factors for age uncertainties for higher-mass WDs. Overall, WDs return reliable stellar ages, but we detail cases where the total ages are least reliable, especially for WDs <0.63 M ⊙ .« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 1, 2023
  2. Abstract Hot subdwarf stars are mostly stripped red giants that can exhibit photometric variations due to stellar pulsations, eclipses, the reflection effect, ellipsoidal modulation, and Doppler beaming. Detailed studies of their light curves help constrain stellar parameters through asteroseismological analyses or binary light-curve modeling and generally improve our capacity to draw a statistically meaningful picture of this enigmatic stage of stellar evolution. From an analysis of Gaia DR2 flux errors, we have identified around 1200 candidate hot subdwarfs with inflated flux errors for their magnitudes—a strong indicator of photometric variability. As a pilot study, we obtained 2 minute cadence TESSmore »Cycle 2 observations of 187 candidate hot subdwarfs with anomalous Gaia flux errors. More than 90% of our targets show significant photometric variations in their TESS light curves. Many of the new systems found are cataclysmic variables, but we report the discovery of several new variable hot subdwarfs, including HW Vir binaries, reflection-effect systems, pulsating sdBV s stars, and ellipsoidally modulated systems. We determine atmospheric parameters for select systems using follow-up spectroscopy from the 3 m Shane telescope. Finally, we present a Fourier diagnostic plot for classifying binary light curves using the relative amplitudes and phases of their fundamental and harmonic signals in their periodograms. This plot makes it possible to identify certain types of variables efficiently, without directly investigating their light curves, and may assist in the rapid classification of systems observed in large photometric surveys.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2023
  3. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT WD 0145+234 is a white dwarf that is accreting metals from a circumstellar disc of planetary material. It has exhibited a substantial and sustained increase in 3–5 $\mu$m flux since 2018. Follow-up Spitzer photometry reveals that emission from the disc had begun to decrease by late 2019. Stochastic brightening events superimposed on the decline in brightness suggest the liberation of dust during collisional evolution of the circumstellar solids. A simple model is used to show that the observations are indeed consistent with ongoing collisions. Rare emission lines from circumstellar gas have been detected at this system, supporting the emerging picture ofmore »white dwarf debris discs as sites of collisional gas and dust production.« less
  4. We present the goals, strategy and first results of the high-cadence Galactic plane survey using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF). The goal of the survey is to unveil the Galactic population of short-period variable stars, including short period binaries and stellar pulsators with periods less than a few hours. Between June 2018 and January 2019, we observed 64 ZTF fields resulting in 2990 deg2 of high stellar density in ZTF-r band along the Galactic Plane. Each field was observed continuously for 1.5 to 6 hrs with a cadence of 40 sec. Most fields have between 200 and 400 observations obtainedmore »over 2-3 continuous nights. As part of this survey we extract a total of ≈230 million individual objects with at least 80 epochs obtained during the high-cadence Galactic Plane survey reaching an average depth of ZTF-r ≈20.5 mag. For four selected fields with 2 million to 10 million individual objects per field we calculate different variability statistics and find that ≈1-2% of the objects are astrophysically variable over the observed period. We present a progress report on recent discoveries, including a new class of compact pulsators, the first members of a new class of Roche Lobe filling hot subdwarf binaries as well as new ultracompact double white dwarfs and flaring stars. Finally we present a sample of 12 new single-mode hot subdwarf B-star pulsators with pulsation amplitudes between ZTF-r = 20-76 mmag and pulsation periods between P = 5.8-16 min with a strong cluster of systems with periods ≈ 6 min. All of the data have now been released in either ZTF Data Release 3 or data release 4.« less
  5. ABSTRACT We present the discovery of only the third brown dwarf known to eclipse a non-accreting white dwarf. Gaia parallax information and multicolour photometry confirm that the white dwarf is cool (9950 ± 150 K) and has a low mass (0.45 ± 0.05 M⊙), and spectra and light curves suggest the brown dwarf has a mass of 0.067 ± 0.006 M⊙ (70MJup) and a spectral type of L5 ± 1. The kinematics of the system show that the binary is likely to be a member of the thick disc and therefore at least 5-Gyr old. The high-cadence light curves show that the brown dwarf is inflated, making it the first brownmore »dwarf in an eclipsing white dwarf-brown dwarf binary to be so.« less