An initial survey of white dwarfs in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

Hugh C. Harris, James Liebert, S. J. Kleinman, Atsuko Nitta, Scott F. Anderson, Gillian R. Knapp, Jurek Krzesiński, Gary Schmidt, Michael A. Strauss, Dan Vanden Berk, Daniel Eisenstein, Suzanne Hawley, Bruce Margon, Jeffrey A. Munn, Nicole M. Silvestri, J. Allyn Smith, Paula Szkody, Matthew J. Collinge, Conard C. Dahn, Xiaohui FanPatricke B. Hall, Donald P. Schneider, J. Brinkmann, Scott Burles, James E. Gunn, Gregory S. Hennessy, Robert Hindsley, Zeljko Ivezić, Stephen Kent, Donald Q. Lamb, Robert H. Lupton, R. C. Nichol, Jeffrey R. Pier, David J. Schlegel, Mark SubbaRao, Alan Uomoto, Brian Yanny, Donald G. York

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

77 Scopus citations


An initial assessment is made of white dwarf and hot subdwarf stars observed in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. In a small area of sky (190 square degrees), observed much like the full survey will be, 269 white dwarfs (WDs) and 56 hot subdwarfs are identified spectroscopically where only 44 white dwarfs and five hot subdwarfs were known previously. Most are ordinary DA (hydrogen atmosphere) and DB (helium) types. In addition, in the full survey to date, a number of WDs have been found with uncommon spectral types. Among these are blue DQ stars displaying lines of atomic carbon; red DQ stars showing molecular bands of C2 with a wide variety of strengths; DZ stars where Ca and occasionally Mg, Na, and/or Fe lines are detected; and magnetic WDs with a wide range of magnetic field strengths in DA, DB, DQ, and (probably) DZ spectral types. Photometry alone allows identification of stars hotter than 12,000 K, and the density of these stars for 15 < g < 20 is found to be ∼2.2 deg-2 at Galactic latitudes of 29°-62°. Spectra are obtained for roughly half of these hot stars. The spectra show that for 15 < g < 17, 40% of hot stars are WDs, and the fraction of WDs rises to ∼90% at g = 20. The remainder are hot sdB and sdO stars.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1023-1040
Number of pages18
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number2 1772
StatePublished - Aug 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


  • Stars: chemically peculiar
  • Stars: magnetic fields
  • Surveys
  • White dwarfs


Dive into the research topics of 'An initial survey of white dwarfs in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this