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    Cataclysmic variables (CVs) that have evolved past the period minimum during their lifetimes are predicted to be systems with a brown dwarf donor. While population synthesis models predict that around 40–70 per cent of the Galactic CVs are post-period minimum systems referred to as ‘period bouncers’, only a few dozen confirmed systems are known. We report the study and characterization of a new eclipsing CV, SRGeJ041130.3+685350 (SRGeJ0411), discovered from a joint SRG/eROSITA and ZTF programme. The optical spectrum of SRGeJ0411 shows prominent hydrogen and helium emission lines, typical for CVs. We obtained optical high-speed photometry to confirm the eclipse of SRGeJ0411 and determine the orbital period to be Porb ≈ 97.530 min. The spectral energy distribution suggests that the donor has an effective temperature of ≲ 1800 K. We constrain the donor mass with the period–density relationship for Roche lobe-filling stars and find that Mdonor ≲ 0.04 M⊙. The binary parameters are consistent with evolutionary models for post-period minimum CVs, suggesting that SRGeJ0411 is a new period bouncer. The optical emission lines of SRGeJ0411 are single-peaked despite the system being eclipsing, which is typically only seen due to stream-fed accretion in polars. X-ray spectroscopy hints that the white dwarf in SRGeJ0411 could be magnetic, but verifying the magnetic nature of SRGeJ0411 requires further investigation. The lack of optical outbursts has made SRGeJ0411 elusive in previous surveys, and joint X-ray and optical surveys highlight the potential for discovering similar systems in the near future.

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  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 27, 2024
  3. 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 should be detectable and may help constrain the structure and evolution of these exotic white dwarfs.

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  4. Abstract We present the third discovery from the COol Companions ON Ultrawide orbiTS (COCONUTS) program, the COCONUTS-3 system, composed of the young M5 primary star UCAC4 374−046899 and the very red L6 dwarf WISEA J081322.19−152203.2. These two objects have a projected separation of 61 ′ ′ (1891 au) and are physically associated given their common proper motions and estimated distances. The primary star, COCONUTS-3A, has a mass of 0.123 ± 0.006 M ⊙ , and we estimate its age as 100 Myr to 1 Gyr based on its stellar activity (via H α and X-ray emission), kinematics, and spectrophotometric properties. We derive its bulk metallicity as 0.21 ± 0.07 dex using empirical calibrations established by older and higher-gravity M dwarfs and find that this [Fe/H] could be slightly underestimated according to PHOENIX models given COCONUTS-3A’s younger age. The companion, COCONUTS-3B, has a near-infrared spectral type of L6 ± 1 int-g , and we infer physical properties of T eff = 1362 − 73 + 48 K, log ( g ) = 4.96 − 0.34 + 0.15 dex, R = 1.03 − 0.06 + 0.12 R Jup , and M = 39 − 18 + 11 M Jup using its bolometric luminosity, its host star’s age, and hot-start evolution models. We construct cloudy atmospheric model spectra at the evolution-based physical parameters and compare them to COCONUTS-3B’s spectrophotometry. We find that this companion possesses ample condensate clouds in its photosphere ( f sed = 1) with the data–model discrepancies likely due to the models using an older version of the opacity database. Compared to field-age L6 dwarfs, COCONUTS-3B has fainter absolute magnitudes and a 120 K cooler T eff . Also, the J − K color of this companion is among the reddest for ultracool benchmarks with ages older than a few hundred megayears. COCONUTS-3 likely formed in the same fashion as stellar binaries given the companion-to-host mass ratio of 0.3 and represents a valuable benchmark to quantify the systematics of substellar model atmospheres. 
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  5. Abstract Magnetic cataclysmic variables (CVs) are luminous Galactic X-ray sources, which have been difficult to find in purely optical surveys due to their lack of outburst behavior. The eROSITA telescope on board the Spektr-RG mission is conducting an all-sky X-ray survey and recently released the public eROSITA Final Equatorial Depth Survey (eFEDS) catalog. We crossmatched the eFEDS catalog with photometry from the Zwicky Transient Facility and discovered two new magnetic CVs. We obtained high-cadence optical photometry and phase-resolved spectroscopy for each magnetic CV candidate and found them both to be polars. Among the newly discovered magnetic CVs is eFEDS J085037.2+044359/ZTFJ0850+0443, an eclipsing polar with orbital period P orb = 1.72 hr and WD mass M WD = 0.81 ± 0.08 M ⊙ . We suggest that eFEDS J085037.2+044359/ZTFJ0850+0443 is a low magnetic field strength polar, with B WD ≲ 10 MG. We also discovered a non-eclipsing polar, eFEDS J092614.1+010558/ZTFJ0926+0105, with orbital period P orb = 1.47 hr and magnetic field strength B WD = 36–42 MG. 
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  6. Abstract We report the discovery of pulsations in the extremely low-mass (ELM), likely helium-core white dwarf GD 278 via ground- and space-based photometry. GD 278 was observed by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) in Sector 18 at a 2 minute cadence for roughly 24 days. The TESS data reveal at least 19 significant periodicities between 2447 and 6729 s, one of which is the longest pulsation period ever detected in a white dwarf. Previous spectroscopy found that this white dwarf is in a 4.61 hr orbit with an unseen >0.4 M ⊙ companion and has T eff = 9230 ± 100 K and log g = 6.627 ± 0.056 , which corresponds to a mass of 0.191 ± 0.013 M ⊙ . Patterns in the TESS pulsation frequencies from rotational splittings appear to reveal a stellar rotation period of roughly 10 hr, making GD 278 the first ELM white dwarf with a measured rotation rate. The patterns inform our mode identification for asteroseismic fits, which, unfortunately, do not reveal a global best-fit solution. Asteroseismology reveals two main solutions roughly consistent with the spectroscopic parameters of this ELM white dwarf, but with vastly different hydrogen-layer masses; future seismic fits could be further improved by using the stellar parallax. GD 278 is now the tenth known pulsating ELM white dwarf; it is only the fifth known to be in a short-period binary, but is the first with extended, space-based photometry. 
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  7. 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.

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  8. Abstract

    We present follow-up photometry and spectroscopy of ZTF J0328−1219, strengthening its status as a white dwarf exhibiting transiting planetary debris. Using TESS and Zwicky Transient Facility photometry, along with follow-up high-speed photometry from various observatories, we find evidence for two significant periods of variability at 9.937 and 11.2 hr. We interpret these as most likely the orbital periods of different debris clumps. Changes in the detailed dip structures within the light curves are observed on nightly, weekly, and monthly timescales, reminiscent of the dynamic behavior observed in the first white dwarf discovered to harbor a disintegrating asteroid, WD 1145+017. We fit previously published spectroscopy along with broadband photometry to obtain new atmospheric parameters for the white dwarf, with M= 0.731 ± 0.023 M,Teff= 7630 ± 140 K, and [Ca/He] = − 9.55 ± 0.12. With new high-resolution spectroscopy, we detect prominent and narrow Na D absorption features likely of circumstellar origin, with velocities 21.4 ± 1.0 km s−1 blueshifted relative to atmospheric lines. We attribute the periodically modulated photometric signal to dusty effluents from small orbiting bodies such as asteroids or comets, but we are unable to identify the most likely material that is being sublimated, or otherwise ejected, as the environmental temperatures range from roughly 400 to 700 K.

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