August 11-15, 2014


Chasing the brightest white dwarfs with planetary systems

John Debes (STScI)

P. Dufour (U. Montreal), D.W Hoard (Eureka Scientific), Justin Ely (STScI), Phoebe Sandhaus (STScI)

Major advances in most astronomical fields come from a combination of a statistical investigation of large populations with small amounts of detailed information and small populations of bright objects that can be investigated in detail. The WISE Infared Excesses around Degenerates (WIRED) survey has aimed at both approaches by constructing a statistical sample of white dwarfs while at the same time discovering several new white dwarfs in local space. We present three gold-standard dusty white dwarfs initially discovered with the WIRED survey and confirmed through Keck/HIRES echelle spectroscopy. These three targets represent both UV and mid-IR bright targets that can have their photospheres and orbiting dust studied in exquisite detail in the future. Finally, we also present initial work on using the Hubble Space Telescope/Cosmic Origins Spectrograph as a tool for characterizing transiting planets around bright white dwarfs.

Mode of presentation: oral