Monday, March 11, 2013

1303.2094 (M. -M. Limoges et al.)

Toward a Spectroscopic Census of White Dwarfs Within 40 parsecs of the Sun    [PDF]

M. -M. Limoges, S. Lepine, P. Bergeron
We present the preliminary results of a survey aimed at significantly increasing the range and completeness of the local census of spectroscopically confirmed white dwarfs. The current census of nearby white dwarfs is reasonably complete only to about 20 parsecs of the Sun, a volume that includes around 130 white dwarfs, a sample too small for detailed statistical analyses. This census is largely based on follow-up investigations of stars with very large proper motions. We describe here the basis of a method that will lead to a catalog of white dwarfs within 40 parsecs of the Sun and north of the celestial equator, thus increasing by a factor of 8 the extent of the northern sky census. White dwarf candidates are identified from the SUPERBLINK proper motion database, allowing us to investigate stars down to a proper motion limit mu>40 mas yr-1, while minimizing the kinematic bias for nearby objects. The selection criteria and distance estimates are based on a combination of color-magnitude and reduced proper motion diagrams. Our follow-up spectroscopic observation campaign has so far uncovered 193 new white dwarfs, among which we identify 127 DA (including 9 DA+dM and 4 magnetic), 1 DB, 56 DC, 3 DQ, and 6 DZ stars. We perform a spectroscopic analysis on a subsample of 84 DAs, and provide their atmospheric parameters. In particular, we identify 11 new white dwarfs with spectroscopic distances within 25 pc of the Sun, including 5 candidates to the D<20 pc subset.
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