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    The convective dredge-up of carbon from the interiors of hydrogen-deficient white dwarfs has long been invoked to explain the presence of carbon absorption features in the spectra of cool DQ stars ($T_{\rm eff} \lt 10\,000\,$K). It has been hypothesized that this transport process is not limited to DQ white dwarfs and also operates, albeit less efficiently, in non-DQ hydrogen-deficient white dwarfs within the same temperature range. This non-DQ population is predominantly composed of DC white dwarfs, which exhibit featureless optical spectra. However, no direct observational evidence of ubiquitous carbon pollution in DC stars has thus far been uncovered. In this Letter, we analyse data from the Galaxy Evolution Explorer to reveal the photometric signature of ultraviolet carbon lines in most DC white dwarfs in the $8500\, {\rm K} \le T_{\rm eff} \le 10\,500\,$K temperature range. Our results show that the vast majority of hydrogen-deficient white dwarfs experience carbon dredge-up at some point in their evolution.

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    We present a detailed model atmosphere analysis of 14001 DA white dwarfs from the Montreal White Dwarf Database with ultraviolet photometry from the GALEX mission. We use the 100 pc sample, where the extinction is negligible, to demonstrate that there are no major systematic differences between the best-fitting parameters derived from optical only data and the optical + UV photometry. GALEX FUV and NUV data improve the statistical errors in the model fits, especially for the hotter white dwarfs with spectral energy distributions that peak in the UV. Fitting the UV to optical spectral energy distributions also reveals UV-excess or UV-deficit objects. We use two different methods to identify outliers in our model fits. Known outliers include objects with unusual atmospheric compositions, strongly magnetic white dwarfs, and binary white dwarfs, including double degenerates and white dwarf + main-sequence systems. We present a list of 89 newly identified outliers based on GALEX UV data; follow-up observations of these objects will be required to constrain their nature. Several current and upcoming large-scale spectroscopic surveys are targeting >105 white dwarfs. In addition, the ULTRASAT mission is planning an all-sky survey in the NUV band. A combination of the UV data from GALEX and ULTRASAT and optical data on these large samples of spectroscopically confirmed DA white dwarfs will provide an excellent opportunity to identify unusual white dwarfs in the solar neighbourhood.

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    We present our findings on the spectral analysis of seven magnetic white dwarfs that were presumed to be double degenerates. We obtained time-resolved spectroscopy at the Gemini Observatory to look for evidence of binarity or fast rotation. We find three of our targets have rotation periods of less than an hour based on the shifting positions of the Zeeman-split H α components: 13, 35, and 39 min, and we find one more target with a approximately an hour long period that is currently unconstrained. We use offset dipole models to determine the inclination, magnetic field strength, and dipole offset of each target. The average surface field strengths of our fast rotators vary by 1–2 MG between different spectra. In all cases, the observed absorption features are too shallow compared to our models. This could be due to extra flux from a companion for our three low-mass targets, but the majority of our sample likely requires an inhomogeneous surface composition. Including an additional magnetic white dwarf with similar properties presented in the literature, we find that five of the eight targets in this sample show field variations on minute/hour time-scales. A crystallization driven dynamo can potentially explain the magnetic fields in three of our targets with masses above 0.7 M⊙, but another mechanism is still needed to explain their rapid rotation. We suggest that rapid rotation or low-masses point to binary evolution as the likely source of magnetism in seven of these eight targets.

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    Ultra-massive white dwarf stars are currently being discovered at a considerable rate, thanks to surveys such as the Gaia space mission. These dense and compact stellar remnants likely play a major role in Type Ia supernova explosions. It is possible to probe the interiors of ultra-massive white dwarfs through asteroseismology. In the case of the most massive white dwarfs, general relativity could affect their structure and pulsations substantially. In this work, we present results of relativistic pulsation calculations employing relativistic ultra-massive ONe-core white dwarf models with hydrogen-rich atmospheres and masses ranging from 1.29 to $1.369 \ \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$ with the aim of assessing the impact of general relativity on the adiabatic gravity (g)-mode period spectrum of very high mass ZZ Ceti stars. Employing the relativistic Cowling approximation for the pulsation analysis, we find that the critical buoyancy (Brunt–Väisälä) and acoustic (Lamb) frequencies are larger for the relativistic case, compared to the Newtonian case, due to the relativistic white dwarf models having smaller radii and higher gravities for a fixed stellar mass. In addition, the g-mode periods are shorter in the relativistic case than those in the Newtonian computations, with relative differences of up to ∼$50$ per cent for the highest mass models ($1.369 \ \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$) and for effective temperatures typical of the ZZ Ceti instability strip. Hence, the effects of general relativity on the structure, evolution, and pulsations of white dwarfs with masses larger than ∼$1.29 \ \mathrm{M}_{\odot }$ cannot be ignored in the asteroseismological analysis of ultra-massive ZZ Ceti stars.

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    We present Apache Point Observatory (APO) and Gemini time-series photometry of WD J004917.14−252556.81, an ultramassive DA white dwarf with $T_{\rm eff} = 13\, 020$ K and log g = 9.34. We detect variability at two significant frequencies, making J0049−2525 the most massive pulsating white dwarf currently known with M⋆ = 1.31 M⊙ (for a CO core) or 1.26 M⊙ (for an ONe core). J0049−2525 does not display any of the signatures of binary mergers, there is no evidence of magnetism, large tangential velocity, or rapid rotation. Hence, it likely formed through single star evolution and is likely to have an ONe core. Evolutionary models indicate that its interior is ≳99 per cent crystallized. Asteroseismology offers an unprecedented opportunity to probe its interior structure. However, the relatively few pulsation modes detected limit our ability to obtain robust seismic solutions. Instead, we provide several representative solutions that could explain the observed properties of this star. Extensive follow-up time-series photometry of this unique target has the potential to discover a significant number of additional pulsation modes that would help overcome the degeneracies in the asteroseismic fits, and enable us to probe the interior of an ≈1.3 M⊙ crystallized white dwarf.

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  6. 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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    G 29 − 38 (TIC 422526868) is one of the brightest (V = 13.1) and closest (d = 17.51 pc) pulsating white dwarfs with a hydrogen-rich atmosphere (DAV/ZZ Ceti class). It was observed by the TESS spacecraft in sectors 42 and 56. The atmosphere of G 29 − 38 is polluted by heavy elements that are expected to sink out of visible layers on short time-scales. The photometric TESS data set spans ∼51 d in total, and from this, we identified 56 significant pulsation frequencies, that include rotational frequency multiplets. In addition, we identified 30 combination frequencies in each sector. The oscillation frequencies that we found are associated with g-mode pulsations, with periods spanning from ∼ 260 to ∼ 1400 s. We identified rotational frequency triplets with a mean separation δνℓ = 1 of 4.67 μHz and a quintuplet with a mean separation δνℓ = 2 of 6.67 μHz, from which we estimated a rotation period of about 1.35 ± 0.1 d. We determined a constant period spacing of 41.20 s for ℓ = 1 modes and 22.58 s for ℓ = 2 modes. We performed period-to-period fit analyses and found an asteroseismological model with M⋆/M⊙ = 0.632 ± 0.03, $T_{\rm eff}=11\, 635\pm 178$ K, and log g = 8.048 ± 0.005 (with a hydrogen envelope mass of MH ∼ 5.6 × 10−5M⋆), in good agreement with the values derived from spectroscopy. We obtained an asteroseismic distance of 17.54 pc, which is in excellent agreement with that provided by Gaia (17.51 pc).

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    This work combines spectroscopic and photometric data of the polluted white dwarf WD 0141−675, which has a now retracted astrometric super-Jupiter candidate, and investigates the most promising ways to confirm Gaia astrometric planetary candidates and obtain follow-up data. Obtaining precise radial velocity measurements for white dwarfs is challenging due to their intrinsic faint magnitudes, lack of spectral absorption lines, and broad spectral features. However, dedicated radial velocity campaigns are capable of confirming close-in giant exoplanets (a few MJup) around polluted white dwarfs, where additional metal lines aid radial velocity measurements. Infrared emission from these giant exoplanets is shown to be detectable with JWST Mid-Infrared Instrument (MIRI) and will provide constraints on the formation of the planet. Using the initial Gaia astrometric solution for WD 0141−675 as a case study, if there were a planet with a 33.65 d period or less with a nearly edge-on orbit, (1) ground-based radial velocity monitoring limits the mass to <15.4 MJup, and (2) space-based infrared photometry shows a lack of infrared excess and in a cloud-free planetary cooling scenario, a substellar companion would have to be <16 MJup and be older than 3.7 Gyr. These results demonstrate how radial velocities and infrared photometry can probe the mass of the objects producing some of the astrometric signals, and rule out parts of the brown dwarf and planet mass parameter space. Therefore, combining astrometric data with spectroscopic and photometric data is crucial to both confirm and characterize astrometric planet candidates around white dwarfs.

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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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  10. 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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