Photometric Variability in a Warm, Strongly Magnetic DQ White Dwarf, SDSS J103655.39+652252.2

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The Astrophysical Journal

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We present the discovery of photometric variability in the DQ white dwarf SDSS J103655.39+652252.2 (SDSS J1036+6522). Time-series photometry reveals a coherent monoperiodic modulation at a period of 1115.64751(67) s with an amplitude 0.442% ± 0.024%; no other periodic modulations are observed with amplitudes 〉~ 0.13%. The period, amplitude, and phase of this modulation are constant within errors over 16 months. The spectrum of SDSS J1036+6522 shows magnetic splitting of carbon lines, and we use Paschen-Back formalism to develop a grid of model atmospheres for mixed carbon and helium atmospheres. Our models, while reliant on several simplistic assumptions, nevertheless match the major spectral and photometric properties of the star with a self-consistent set of parameters: T eff ≈ 15, 500 K, log g ≈ 9, log (C/He) = -1.0, and a mean magnetic field strength of 3.0 ± 0.2 MG. The temperature and abundances strongly suggest that SDSS J1036+6522 is a transition object between the hot, carbon-dominated DQs and the cool, helium-dominated DQs. The variability of SDSS J1036+6522 has characteristics similar to those of the variable hot carbon-atmosphere white dwarfs (DQVs), however, its temperature is significantly cooler. The pulse profile of SDSS J1036+6522 is nearly sinusoidal, in contrast with the significantly asymmetric pulse shapes of the known magnetic DQVs. If the variability in SDSS J1036+6522 is due to the same mechanism as other DQVs, then the pulse shape is not a definitive diagnostic on the absence of a strong magnetic field in DQVs. It remains unclear whether the root cause of the variability in SDSS J1036+6522 and the other hot DQVs is the same.


Physics and Astronomy










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