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Creators/Authors contains: "Vanderbosch, Zachary P."

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  1. Abstract

    The distribution of white dwarf rotation periods provides a means for constraining angular momentum evolution during the late stages of stellar evolution, as well as insight into the physics and remnants of double degenerate mergers. Although the rotational distribution of low-mass white dwarfs is relatively well constrained via asteroseismology, that of high-mass white dwarfs, which can arise from either intermediate-mass stellar evolution or white dwarf mergers, is not. Photometric variability in white dwarfs due to rotation of a spotted star is rapidly increasing the sample size of high-mass white dwarfs with measured rotation periods. We present the discovery of 22.4 minute photometric variability in the light curve of EGGR 156, a strongly magnetic, ultramassive white dwarf. We interpret this variability as rapid rotation, and our data suggest that EGGR 156 is the remnant of a double degenerate merger. Finally, we calculate the rate of period change in rapidly-rotating, massive, magnetic WDs due to magnetic dipole radiation. In many cases, including EGGR 156, the period change is not currently detectable over reasonable timescales, indicating that these WDs could be very precise clocks. For the most highly-magnetic, rapidly-rotating massive WDs, such as ZTF J1901+1450 and RE J0317−853, the period change shouldmore »be detectable and may help constrain the structure and evolution of these exotic white dwarfs.

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  2. Abstract

    We present a dedicated search for new pulsating helium-atmosphere (DBV) white dwarfs from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey using the McDonald 2.1 m Otto Struve Telescope. In total we observed 55 DB and DBA white dwarfs with spectroscopic temperatures between 19,000 and 35,000 K. We find 19 new DBVs and place upper limits on variability for the remaining 36 objects. In combination with previously known DBVs, we use these objects to provide an update to the empirical extent of the DB instability strip. With our sample of new DBVs, the red edge is better constrained, as we nearly double the number of DBVs known between 20,000 and 24,000 K. We do not find any new DBVs hotter than PG 0112+104, the current hottest DBV is atTeff≈ 31,000 K, but do find pulsations in four DBVs with temperatures between 27,000 and 30,000 K, improving empirical constraints on the poorly defined blue edge. We investigate the ensemble pulsation properties of all currently known DBVs, finding that the weighted mean period and total pulsation power exhibit trends with effective temperature that are qualitatively similar to the pulsating hydrogen-atmosphere white dwarfs.