AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 68 Extra-Solar Planets II: Current Searches, Properties and Analysis
Poster, Tuesday, 9:20am-6:30pm, January 10, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[68.08] Search for Planets around Pulsating White Dwarf Stars

F. Mullally, D. E. Winget (University of Texas at Austin), S. O. Kepler (Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul)

We present initial results from our search for planets around variable white dwarf stars. White dwarf stars are the end point of stellar evolution for 98% of main sequence stars. Theoretical calculations (Sackmann 1993; Duncan & Lissauer 1998) predict that planets further than 1 AU from their parent star will survive the red giant phase. When a hydrogen atmosphere white dwarf (DA) cools to about 12000K it becomes a variable star. A subset of these stars exhibit pulsational stability that rivals atomic clocks (\dot{P} ~10-15; Kepler et al. 2005). The reflex orbital motion of the star around the center of mass of the system due to the presence of a planet changes the light travel time of these stable pulses and hence their observed arrival time on earth, providing a method to detect the planet. Because we are measuring change in distance to the star, planets in long period orbits are easier to detect, complementing the Doppler shift method. This work is supported by grant from the NASA Origins program, NAG5-13094 and performed in part under contract with JPL through the Michelson Fellowship Program.

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