AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 60 Nearby Star I
Special Session, Tuesday, January 6, 2004, 10:00-11:30am, Centennial I/II

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[60.04] White Dwarfs in the Solar Neighborhood

J. Subasavage (Georgia State University)

Because of the discovery of extrasolar planets, nearby star research is undergoing a renaissance. Proximity is one of the most important factors governing the lower limit on an extrasolar planet's size detectable using current capabilities, whether it be S/N issues for radial velocities, or perturbation amplitudes for astrometry. A complete sample of the Sun's nearest neighbors is therefore essential for providing targets that maximize the success of these planetary detections.

White dwarfs are good targets for extrasolar planetary work because of their relatively low masses, which allow smaller planets to be found. One of the more recent RECONS efforts has been to identify previously unknown white dwarfs in the southern hemisphere, as part of CTIOPI (Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory Parallax Investigation). As the final stage of many stars' lives, white dwarfs also provoke considerations of the survivability of planets after the red giant phase. After pinpointing good white dwarf candidates, distance estimates are made via UBVRIJHK photometry, and those that likely fall within the NStars (Nearby Stars) horizon of 25 parsecs are targeted for trigonometric parallaxes. This effort will aid in defining the space density of white dwarfs, for which we estimate that nearly 63% are ``missing" within 25 parsecs.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.