NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2013B-0130

Small NOAO Logo

Proposal Information for 2013B-0130


PI: Paul Canton, University of Oklahoma, Paul.Canton@ou.edu
Address: Department of Physics and Astronomy, 440 West Brooks Street, Norman, OK 73019, USA

CoI: Mukremin Kilic, University of Oklahoma
CoI: Warren Brown, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
CoI: Scott Kenyon, Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
CoI: Alexandros Gianninas, University of Oklahoma

Title: The ELM Survey: Finding the Shortest Period BinaryWhite Dwarfs

Abstract: A new discovery space for short period binary white dwarfs has opened up with the availability of 14,600 deg^2 of SDSS Data Release 9 photometry. The Extremely Low-Mass (ELM) Survey takes advantage of this photometry and SDSS spectroscopy to identify compact systems with 1 hour or shorter orbital periods. To significantly increase the number of merging white dwarf systems known, we propose to obtain follow-up spectroscopic observations of all candidates with g \le 19 mag and photometric colors consistent with extremely low-mass (\le 0.3 M_\odot) white dwarfs. Most of our 2012A Hale and 2012B KP 4m observing runs were lost to humidity, blizzards and ice, yet we managed to identify at least one new short period binary and many new promising white dwarf binary candidates. Here we propose to continue our program by observing our fall targets on the KPNO 4m telescope. Our two major science goals are to discover detached gravitational wave sources for fundamental tests of general relativity, and to constrain the formation rate and space density of merging white dwarfs. The latter is important for constraining the contribution of double degenerates to Type Ia and underluminous supernovae.


National Optical Astronomy Observatory, 950 North Cherry Avenue, P.O. Box 26732, Tucson, Arizona 85726, Phone: (520) 318-8000, Fax: (520) 318-8360



NOAO >   Observing Info >   Approved Programs >   2013B-0130

noaoprop-help@noao.edu

Small NOAO Logo