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  1. 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.

  2. Abstract We report the discovery of an isolated white dwarf with a spin period of 70 s. We obtained high-speed photometry of three ultramassive white dwarfs within 100 pc and discovered significant variability in one. SDSS J221141.80+113604.4 is a 1.27 M ⊙ (assuming a CO core) magnetic white dwarf that shows 2.9% brightness variations in the BG40 filter with a 70.32 ± 0.04 s period, becoming the fastest spinning isolated white dwarf currently known. A detailed model atmosphere analysis shows that it has a mixed hydrogen and helium atmosphere with a dipole field strength of B d = 15 MG. Given its large mass, fast rotation, strong magnetic field, unusual atmospheric composition, and relatively large tangential velocity for its cooling age, J2211+1136 displays all of the signatures of a double white dwarf merger remnant. Long-term monitoring of the spin evolution of J2211+1136 and other fast-spinning isolated white dwarfs opens a new discovery space for substellar and planetary mass companions around white dwarfs. In addition, the discovery of such fast rotators outside of the ZZ Ceti instability strip suggests that some should also exist within the strip. Hence, some of the monoperiodic variables found within the instability strip may be fast-spinningmore »white dwarfs impersonating ZZ Ceti pulsators.« less
  3. ABSTRACT We present the Apache Point Observatory BG40 broad-band and simultaneous Gemini r-band and i-band high-speed follow-up photometry observations and analysis of the 40.5-min period eclipsing detached double-degenerate binary SDSS J082239.54+304857.19. Our APO data spans over 318 d and includes 13 primary eclipses, from which we precisely measure the system’s orbital period and improve the time of mid-eclipse measurement. We fit the light curves for each filter individually and show that this system contains a low-mass DA white dwarf with radius RA = 0.031 ± 0.006 R⊙ and a RB = 0.013 ± 0.005 R⊙ companion at an inclination of i = 87.7 ± 0.2○. We use the best-fitting eclipsing light curve model to estimate the temperature of the secondary star as Teff = 5200 ± 100 K. Finally, while we do not record significant offsets to the expected time of mid-eclipse caused by the emission of gravitational waves with our 1-yr baseline, we show that a 3σ significant measurement of the orbital decay due to gravitational waves will be possible in 2023, at which point the eclipse will occur about 8  s earlier than expected.
  4. ABSTRACT We present radial velocity observations of four binary white dwarf candidates identified through their overluminosity. We identify two new double-lined spectroscopic binary systems, WD 0311–649 and WD 1606+422, and constrain their orbital parameters. WD 0311–649 is a 17.7 h period system with a mass ratio of 1.44 ± 0.06 and WD 1606+422 is a 20.1 h period system with a mass ratio of 1.33 ± 0.03. An additional object, WD 1447–190, is a 43 h period single-lined white dwarf binary, whereas WD 1418–088 does not show any significant velocity variations over time-scales ranging from minutes to decades. We present an overview of the 14 overluminous white dwarfs that were identified by Bédard et al., and find the fraction of double- and single-lined systems to be both 31 per cent. However, an additional 31 per cent of these overluminous white dwarfs do not show any significant radial velocity variations. We demonstrate that these must be in long-period binaries that may be resolved by Gaia astrometry. We also discuss the overabundance of single low-mass white dwarfs identified in the SPY survey, and suggest that some of those systems are also likely long-period binary systems of more massive white dwarfs.
  5. 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 demonstratemore »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.« less