Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Physics

Date of Award

Spring 4-21-2023


Rapidly rotating white dwarfs (WDs) have the potential to come about by either double degenerate mergers or weak coupling between the core and the outer envelope during the asymptotic giant branch (AGB). For both cases, knowledge of the rotational period distribution places tight constraints on the evolution of angular momentum transfer. Here we present initial results from a study of the rotational period distribution of 19 massive (M > 0:9M), magnetic, DA WDs observed by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) and 17 observed with ground-based telescopes and analyzed with the Lightkurve python package. We present periodograms, folded light curves, and statistics from this sample. We also discuss ongoing searches to increase the sample size of massive, magnetic rotating WDs. We find that at least 30% of targeted WDs vary with periods as short as 3 minutes. Our rotational period distribution is similar to previous studies of magnetic white dwarf rotation, yet remains distinct from the majority of normal field WDs.


Kurtis Williams