AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 65. Stars and Galactic Structure in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey
Special, Tuesday, January 7, 2003, 2:00-3:30pm, 6AB

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[65.03] Mining the Galaxy: White Dwarfs in the SDSS

S. J. Kleinman (Apache Pt. Observatory)

White dwarf stars (WDs) are among the oldest stars in the Galaxy and they offer unique clues to its structure and evolution. The Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) has proven very good at identifying white dwarf stars. While quite good lists of candidate white dwarfs can be identified by their SDSS photometric colors, I concentrate here on spectroscopically identified WDs from the SDSS spectroscopic survey. We have solidly identified roughly 1500 DA WDs, 100 DBs, 160 DCs, 50 DQs, 60 DZs, 20 DH WDs. Since the SDSS is predominantly a galaxy survey and we only ``haphazardly'' target certain WDs for spectroscopy, the relative numbers of observed WD subtypes (and their temperatures, etc.) are not necessarily representative of the Galaxy at large. Nonetheless, this new sample of identified WDs is a significant addition to the known WDs (2300 DAs, 200 DBs, 300 DCs, 90 DQs, and 70 DZs in the online McCook and Sion catalog) and will aid greatly in our understanding of some of the more rare types of WDs. In addition, there are indeed some prospects for being able to identify a completeness estimate for our observed stars so we may eventually arrive at a vastly improved white dwarf luminosity function.

Here, I describe our white dwarf sample and point out a small subset of interesting objects already identified. I will also briefly discuss the future of WD research in the SDSS and the prospects for an improved luminosity function.

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