August 11-15, 2014


The Ongoing Search for Planets Around White Dwarf Stars Using Pulsation Timings

Don Winget (University of Texas Astronomy Department)

Sam Harrold, Mike Montgomery, Keaton Bell University of Texas J.J. Hermes, Warwick University Fergal Mullally, NASA Ames Research Center

We expect that the vast majority of all stars are or will become white dwarf stars. Evidence from the search for exoplanets around lower main sequence stars argues that most stars likely have planets, at least prior to the white dwarf stage. Some planets may survive and others may form in a sort of second generation from the cast-off material. If we combine this with evidence of a substantial population of metal polluted white dwarf stars, we may plausibly expect that planets are a relatively common occurrence. Empirically, however, little is known about the presence of planets, new or old around white dwarf stars. Our tightening constraints from stellar pulsation timings become increasingly important to the broader study of the formation of planets, their dynamical evolution, and ultimate survival.

Mode of presentation: oral