White Dwarfs: Cosmological and Galactic Probes

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In the past few years, general astronomical interest has concentrated on s- eral objects and phenomena where white dwarf stars play a key role. T Type Ia supernovae have been used as evidence to show that, in fact, Einstein did not make his greatest blunder when heallowedfor the possibility of a c- mological constant. Improvements in our knowledge of the Hubble parameter have revived interest in the use of white dwarf stars as a different typeofc- mochronometer to measuretheage of the Galaxy andthus set constraints on the age of the Universe. In roughly the same time period, there have been considerable advances in our understanding of white dwarf stars, both as i- lated stars in the ?eld and as members ofinteracting binary systems. Much of thisadvance has come from theavailabilityof spacecraftobservations from missions like HST T T, IU UE, ROSAT T, EXOSAT T, Chandra, ORFEUS, EUVE, HUT T T, and FUSE. The discovery of thousandsof new white dwarfs from a number oflarge surveys and thepotential of theSloan Digital SkySurvey have added impetus to the ?eld. Studies ofinteracting binaries such as classical novae, supersoft X-ray bi- ries, symbiotic variables, dwarf novae and nova-like objects have revealed the diff ferences between thethermal evolution of singleand close binary systems aswell as heightenedinterest in these systems as progenitors of the cosmol- ically important Type I supernovae. A more speculative question is whether classical novae can beunderstood well enough that theymight provide another kind of standard candle.


Edward M. Sion, Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Villanova University, Former Scientific Editor, The Astrophysical Journal, author or co-author of over 400 scientific publications on white dwarfs and cataclysmic variable stars, co-author of the Catalogue of Spectroscopically Identified White Dwarfs.

Stephane Vennes, Research Astronomer, Johns Hopkins University, Lecturer, Australian national University, leading expert on the physics of diffusion, radiative forces, and accretion onto white dwarfs, and specialist on space ultraviolet studies of white dwarf stars.

Harry L. Shipman, Annie Jump Cannon Professor of Astronomy, University of Delaware, Distinguished Educator Medal, the National Science Foundation, author or co-author of over 300 scientific publications on white dwarfs and author of Black Holes and the Infinite Universe and Introductory Astronomy, leading expert on white dwarf stars and science education.


The emphasis on white dwarf stars and cosmology arises from the most recent advances in cosmological and galactic structure research in which white dwarf stars are playing a very prominent role. Examples are Type Ia supernovae (i.e. white dwarf supernovae), the origin and evolution of the universe, the age of the galactic disk, cosmochronology using white dwarfs in globular clusters and galactic clusters, and the physics of accretion onto compact (very dense) stars. As an assisting guide to the reader, we have included, by invitation, comprehensive review articles in each of the four major areas of the book, white dwarf supernovae, cosmology, accretion physics and galactic structure. The reviews include introductory material that they build upon.

The book is suitable and most useful to advanced undergraduates, graduate students and scientific professionals (e.g. astronomers, astrophysicists, cosmologists, physicists).


Section I. Halo White Dwarfs and Galactic Structure.
Old Ultracool White Dwarfs as Cosmological Probes. Number counts of white dwarfs: the impact of GAIA. Influence of Metallicity in the Determination of the Age of Halo White Dwarfs. Cool Halo White Dwarfs from GSCII. Dark halo baryons not in ancient white dwarfs? White Dwarfs in 2QZ and Sloan Surveys. White Dwarfs and Cataclysmic in the FBS. White Dwarfs in Globular Clusters. Core/Envelope Symmetry in Pulsating White Dwarfs Stars. A Search for Variability in Cool White Dwarf Stars. Planetary Nebulae and the Galactic Bulge.
Section II. Type Ia Supernovae.
Type Ia Supernovae and Cosmology. The Progenitors of Type Ia Supernovae. Progenitors of Supernovae Type Ia. Polulation synthesis for progenitors of type Ia supernovae. How far can we trust SNE Ia as Standard Candles? Kirshner on White Dwarfs. Supernovae. and Cosmology.
Section III. Cataclysmic Variables and White Dwarf Accretion.
Accretion in Cataclysmic Variable Stars. White Dwarfs in Cataclysmic Variables: Probes of Accretion History. Intermediate Polars in Low States. Chemical Abundances of WDs in CVs. AM CVn Stars in the UCT CCD CV Survey. TUG Observations of V2275 Cyg, RW Umi, PX And and FO Per. The Possible Identification of Two Hibernating Novae. Evidence for large superhumps in TX Col and V4742 Sgr.
Concluding remarks.

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White Dwarfs: Cosmological and Galactic Probes
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Springer Netherlands
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