Warren R. Brown - Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

Warren R. Brown
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Warren R. Brown
Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory
United States

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Pub Categories

Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (37)
Astrophysics of Galaxies (27)
Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (3)
Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (3)
Cosmology and Nongalactic Astrophysics (2)
High Energy Astrophysical Phenomena (2)

Publications Authored By Warren R. Brown

We assess the photometric variability of nine stars with spectroscopic Teff and log(g) values from the ELM Survey that locate them near the empirical extremely low-mass (ELM) white dwarf instability strip. We discover three new pulsating stars: SDSS J135512.34+195645. Read More

A catalog of 8472 white dwarf (WD) candidates is presented, selected using reduced proper motions from the deep proper motion catalog of Munn et al. 2014. Candidates are selected in the magnitude range 16 < r < 21. Read More

We present optical spectroscopy and near-infrared photometry of 57 faint ($g= 19-22$) high proper motion white dwarfs identified through repeat imaging of $\approx3100$ square degrees of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey footprint by Munn et al. (2014). We use $ugriz$ and $JH$ photometry to perform a model atmosphere analysis, and identify ten ultracool white dwarfs with $T_{\rm eff}<4000$ K, including the coolest pure H atmosphere white dwarf currently known, J1657+2638, with $T_{\rm eff}= 3550 \pm 100$K. Read More

For sufficiently wide orbital separations {\it a}, the two members of a stellar binary evolve independently. This implies that in a wide double white dwarf (DWD), the more massive WD should always be produced first, when its more massive progenitor ends its main-sequence life, and should therefore be older and cooler than its companion. The bound, wide DWD HS 2220$+$2146 ($a\approx500$ AU) does not conform to this picture: the more massive WD is the younger, hotter of the pair. Read More

We present Chandra and Swift X-ray observations of four extremely low-mass (ELM) white dwarfs with massive companions. We place stringent limits on X-ray emission from all four systems, indicating that neutron star companions are extremely unlikely and that the companions are almost certainly white dwarfs. Given the observed orbital periods and radial velocity amplitudes, the total masses of these binaries are greater than 1. Read More

We present the discovery of 15 extremely low mass (5 < log{g} < 7) white dwarf candidates, 9 of which are in ultra-compact double-degenerate binaries. Our targeted ELM Survey sample now includes 76 binaries. The sample has a lognormal distribution of orbital periods with a median period of 5. Read More

We report the discovery of pulsations in three mixed-atmosphere, extremely low-mass white dwarf (ELM WD, M $\leqslant$ 0.3 M$_{\odot}$) precursors. Following the recent discoveries of pulsations in both ELM and pre-ELM WDs, we targeted pre-ELM WDs with mixed H/He atmospheres with high-speed photometry. Read More

We estimate the merger rate of double degenerate binaries containing extremely low mass (ELM) <0.3 Msun white dwarfs in the Galaxy. Such white dwarfs are detectable for timescales of 0. Read More

We present the serendipitous discovery of eclipse-like events around the massive white dwarf SDSS J152934.98+292801.9 (hereafter J1529+2928). Read More

White dwarfs are the end state of most stars, including the Sun, after they exhaust their nuclear fuel. Between 1/4 and 1/2 of white dwarfs have elements heavier than helium in their atmospheres, even though these elements should rapidly settle into the stellar interiors unless they are occasionally replenished. The abundance ratios of heavy elements in white dwarf atmospheres are similar to rocky bodies in the Solar system. Read More

We present the discovery of 11 new double degenerate systems containing extremely low-mass white dwarfs (ELM WDs). Our radial velocity observations confirm that all of the targets have orbital periods $\leq$ 1 day. We perform spectroscopic fits and provide a complete set of physical and binary parameters. Read More

Affiliations: 1Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, 2Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, 3Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, 4Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

We measure the three components of velocity dispersion, $\sigma_{R},\sigma_{\theta},\sigma_{\phi}$, for stars within 6 < R < 30 kpc of the Milky Way using a new radial velocity sample from the MMT telescope. We combine our measurements with previously published data so that we can more finely sample the stellar halo. We use a maximum likelihood statistical method for estimating mean velocities, dispersions, and covariances assuming only that velocities are normally distributed. Read More

We describe the new spectroscopic data reduction pipeline for the multi-object MMT/Magellan Infrared Spectrograph. The pipeline is implemented in idl as a stand-alone package and is publicly available in both stable and development versions. We describe novel algorithms for sky subtraction and correction for telluric absorption. Read More

We measure proper motions with the Hubble Space Telescope for 16 extreme radial velocity stars, mostly unbound B stars in the Milky Way halo. Twelve of these stars have proper motions statistically consistent with zero, and thus have radial trajectories statistically consistent with a Galactic center "hypervelocity star" origin. The trajectory of HE 0437-5439 is consistent with both Milky Way and Large Magellanic Cloud origins. Read More

We report the discovery of the first millisecond pulsar with a pulsating white dwarf companion. Following the recent discoveries of pulsations in extremely low-mass (ELM, <0.3 Msol) white dwarfs (WDs), we targeted ELM WD companions to two millisecond pulsars with high-speed Gemini photometry. Read More

Affiliations: 1University of Oklahoma, 2Université de Montréal, 3University of Oklahoma, 4Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, 5Université de Montréal, 6University of Warwick

We present a detailed spectroscopic analysis of 61 low mass white dwarfs and provide precise atmospheric parameters, masses, and updated binary system parameters based on our new model atmosphere grids and the most recent evolutionary model calculations. For the first time, we measure systematic abundances of He, Ca and Mg for metal-rich extremely low mass white dwarfs and examine the distribution of these abundances as a function of effective temperature and mass. Based on our preliminary results, we discuss the possibility that shell flashes may be responsible for the presence of the observed He and metals. Read More

We identify the RR Lyrae and delta Scuti (DSCT) stars in three catalogs of GALEX variable sources. The NUV amplitude of RR Lyrae stars is about twice that in V-band, so we find a larger percentage of low amplitude variables than catalogs such as Abbas et al (2014). Interestingly, the (NUV-V)_0 color is sensitive to metallicity and can be used to distinguish between variables of the same period but differing [Fe/H]. Read More

We carry out high-speed photometry on 20 of the shortest-period, detached white dwarf binaries known and discover systems with eclipses, ellipsoidal variations (due to tidal deformations of the visible white dwarf), and Doppler beaming. All of the binaries contain low-mass white dwarfs with orbital periods less than 4 hr. Our observations identify the first eight tidally distorted white dwarfs, four of which are reported for the first time here, which we use to put empirical constraints on the mass-radius relationship for extremely low-mass (<0. Read More

We report on the discovery of the most distant Milky Way (MW) stars known to date: ULAS J001535.72$+$015549.6 and ULAS J074417. Read More

We report the discovery of a detached 20 min orbital period binary white dwarf. WD0931+444 (SDSS J093506.93+441106. Read More

We predict the distinctive three dimensional space motions of hypervelocity stars (HVSs) and runaway stars moving in a realistic Galactic potential. For nearby stars with distances less than 10~kpc, unbound stars are rare; proper motions alone rarely isolate bound HVSs and runaways from indigenous halo stars. At large distances of 20-100 kpc, unbound HVSs are much more common than runaways; radial velocities easily distinguish both from indigenous halo stars. Read More

A recent cross-correlation between the SDSS DR7 White Dwarf Catalog with the Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer ($WISE$) all-sky photometry at 3.4, 4.6, 12, and 22 microns performed by Debes et al. Read More

We describe our completed spectroscopic survey for unbound hypervelocity stars (HVSs) ejected from the Milky Way. Three new discoveries bring the total number of unbound HVSs to 21. We place new constraints on the nature of HVSs and on their distances using moderate resolution MMT spectroscopy. Read More

We present the discovery of an unusual, tidally-distorted extremely low mass white dwarf (WD) with nearly solar metallicity. Radial velocity measurements confirm that this is a compact binary with an orbital period of 2.6975 hrs and a velocity semi-amplitude of K = 108. Read More

We present optical and X-ray observations of two tidally distorted, extremely low-mass white dwarfs (WDs) with massive companions. There is no evidence of neutron stars in our Chandra and XMM observations of these objects. SDSS J075141. Read More

Affiliations: 1Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, 2Caltech, 3Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, 4Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

We analyze Keck ESI spectroscopy of HVS17, a B-type star traveling with a Galactic rest frame radial velocity of +445 km/s in the outer halo of the Milky Way. HVS17 has the projected rotation of a main sequence B star and is chemically peculiar, with solar iron abundance and sub-solar alpha abundance. Comparing measured T_eff and logg with stellar evolution tracks implies that HVS17 is a 3. Read More

We present optical spectroscopy, astrometry, radio, and X-ray observations of the runaway binary LP 400-22. We refine the orbital parameters of the system based on our new radial velocity observations. Our parallax data indicate that LP 400-22 is significantly more distant (3 sigma lower limit of 840 pc) than initially predicted. Read More

We announce the discovery of the most massive pulsating hydrogen-atmosphere (DA) white dwarf (WD) ever discovered, GD 518. Model atmosphere fits to the optical spectrum of this star show it is a 12,030 +/- 210 K WD with a log(g) = 9.08 +/- 0. Read More

We present the discovery of 17 low mass white dwarfs (WDs) in short-period P<1 day binaries. Our sample includes four objects with remarkable log(g)~5 surface gravities and orbital solutions that require them to be double degenerate binaries. All of the lowest surface gravity WDs have metal lines in their spectra implying long gravitational settling times or on-going accretion. Read More

We present time-series photometry of 11 hypervelocity stars (HVSs) to constrain their nature. Known HVSs are mostly late-B spectral type objects that may be either main-sequence (MS) or evolved blue horizontal branch (BHB) stars. Fortunately, MS stars at these effective temperatures, $T_{eff} \sim$ 12,000 K, are good candidates for being a class of variable stars known as slowly pulsating B stars (SPBs). Read More

We describe principal components of the new spectroscopic data pipeline for the multi-object MMT/Magellan Infrared Spectrograph (MMIRS). The pipeline is implemented in IDL and C++. The performance of the data processing algorithms is sufficient to reduce a single dataset in 2--3 min on a modern PC workstation so that one can use the pipeline as a quick-look tool during observations. Read More

We obtain Keck HIRES spectroscopy of HVS5, one of the fastest unbound stars in the Milky Way halo. We show that HVS5 is a 3.62 +- 0. Read More

We present new radial velocity and X-ray observations of extremely low-mass (ELM, 0.2 Msol) white dwarf candidates in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 7 area. We identify seven new binary systems with 1-18 h orbital periods. Read More

Affiliations: 1University of Utah, 2Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, 3Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, 4Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

We examine whether disrupted binary stars can fuel black hole growth. In this mechanism, tidal disruption produces a single hypervelocity star (HVS) ejected at high velocity and a former companion star bound to the black hole. After a cluster of bound stars forms, orbital diffusion allows the black hole to accrete stars by tidal disruption at a rate comparable to the capture rate. Read More

Affiliations: 1Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, 2Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory, 3Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory

We present the discovery of five new unbound hypervelocity stars (HVSs) in the outer Milky Way halo. Using a conservative estimate of Galactic escape velocity, our targeted spectroscopic survey has now identified 16 unbound HVSs as well as a comparable number of HVSs ejected on bound trajectories. A Galactic center origin for the HVSs is supported by their unbound velocities, the observed number of unbound stars, their stellar nature, their ejection time distribution, and their Galactic latitude and longitude distribution. Read More

We develop statistical methods for identifying star streams in the halo of the Milky Way galaxy that exploit observed spatial and radial velocity distributions. Within a great circle, departures of the observed spatial distribution from random provide a measure of the likelihood of a potential star stream. Comparisons between the radial velocity distribution within a great circle and the radial velocity distribution of the entire sample also measure the statistical significance of potential streams. Read More

Extremely low mass (ELM) white dwarfs (WDs) with masses <0.25 Msun are rare objects that result from compact binary evolution. Here, we present a targeted spectroscopic survey of ELM WD candidates selected by color. Read More

We report the discovery of a new detached, double white dwarf system with an orbital period of 39.8 min. We targeted SDSS J163030. Read More

We have discovered a detached pair of white dwarfs (WDs) with a 12.75 min orbital period and a 1,315 km/s radial velocity amplitude. We measure the full orbital parameters of the system using its light curve, which shows ellipsoidal variations, Doppler boosting, and primary and secondary eclipses. Read More

We identify SDSS J010657.39-100003.3 (hereafter J0106-1000) as the shortest period detached binary white dwarf (WD) system currently known. Read More