August 11-15, 2014


Planets around White Dwarf Binaries

Thomas Marsh (University of Warwick)

Madelon Bours (Warwick, UK) Steven Parsons (Valparaiso, Chile) Vik Dhillon (Sheffield, UK) Stuart Littlefair (Sheffield, UK)

Eclipses of white dwarfs in close binaries provide superb timing references that can be used to detect tiny changes in the binary orbits. There are now many instances of significant departures from constant periods in these systems. In several cases the changes appear to be too large to be caused by anything but third bodies in orbit around the binaries. In several instances these are of planetary mass, raising interesting questions as to how they can have survived the evolution of their host binaries. I describe a timing programme that we have have run for more than a decade to follow these systems which is uncovering many new examples of significant period fluctuation. I will emphasize the significance of the nature of the white dwarfs' companions and why the recently discovered eclipsing double white dwarfs are of particular importance for this work.

Mode of presentation: oral