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Atmospheric parameters and carbon abundance for hot DB white dwarfs

By SpaceRef Editor
July 23, 2014
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Atmospheric parameters and carbon abundance for hot DB white dwarfs

Detlev Koester, Judi Provencal, Boris T. Gänsicke

(Submitted on 23 Jul 2014)

Atmospheric parameters for hot DB (helium atmosphere) white dwarfs near effective temperatures of 25000K are extremely difficult to determine from optical spectroscopy. This is particularly unfortunate, because this is the range of variable DBV or V777 Her stars. Accurate atmospheric parameters are needed to help or confirm the asteroseismic analysis of these objects. Another important aspect is the new class of white dwarfs – the hot DQ – detected by Dufour et al. (2007), with spectra dominated by carbon lines. The analysis shows that their atmospheres are pure carbon. The origin of these stars is not yet understood, but they may have an evolutionary link with the hotter DBs as studied here. Our aim is to determine accurate atmospheric parameters and element abundances and study the implications for the evolution white dwarfs of spectral classes DB and hot DQ. High resolution UV spectra of five DBs are studied with model atmospheres. We determine stellar parameters and abundances or upper limits of C and Si. These objects are compared with cooler DBs below 20000K. We find photospheric C and no other heavy elements – with extremely high limits on the C/Si ratio – in two of the five hot DBs. We compare various explanations for this unusual composition, which have been proposed in the literature: accretion of interstellar or circumstellar matter, radiative levitation, carbon dredge-up from deeper interior below the helium layer, and a residual stellar wind. None of these explanations is completely satisfactory, and the problem of the origin of the hot DQ remains an open question.

Subjects: Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR)

Cite as: arXiv:1407.6157 [astro-ph.SR]

  (or arXiv:1407.6157v1 [astro-ph.SR] for this version)

Submission history

From: Detlev Koester [view email] 

[v1] Wed, 23 Jul 2014 10:18:43 GMT (1112kb)


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