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Hunting for Variable White Dwarfs in the GALEX Archives

19 Dec 2018, 11:39 UTC
Hunting for Variable White Dwarfs in the GALEX Archives
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Title: Detections and Constraints on White Dwarf Variability from Time-Series GALEX ObservationsAuthors: Dominick M. Rowan, Michael A. Tucker, Benjamin J. Shappee, and J.J. HermesFirst Author’s Institution: Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawaii, Honolulu, USAStatus: Submitted to MNRAS, open accessFigure 1: A plot of brightness against colour for stars that were observed by the Gaia satellite. White dwarf candidates that were selected for today’s paper are shown by the coloured points. Source: Figure 1 in today’s paper.White dwarfs are stars in their silver years. 97% of all stars will end their lives as white dwarfs. These stars have stopped all fusion in their cores and are powered by left-over heat from their younger lives. It’s easy to think of white dwarfs as ‘dead stars’, doing nothing but hanging in space while they slowly cool. However, these stars have plenty of activity left in them. Some white dwarfs pulsate: instabilities in their atmospheres cause them to shrink and stretch in size. Studying these pulsations can tell us about the internal structure of a white dwarf. Other white dwarfs are in binary systems and undergo eclipses when their companion star blocks their light from reaching us. Studying these eclipses can help us accurately ...

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