The frequency of metal enrichment of cool helium-atmosphere white dwarfs using the DESI early data release

Christopher J. Manser*, Boris T. Gänsicke, Paula Izquierdo, Andrew Swan, Joan Najita, C. Rockosi, Andreia Carrillo, Bokyoung Kim, Siyi Xu, Arjun Dey, J. Aguilar, S. Ahlen, R. Blum, D. Brooks, T. Claybaugh, K. Dawson, A. de la Macorra, P. Doel, E. Gaztañaga, S. Gontcho A GontchoK. Honscheid, R. Kehoe, A. Kremin, M. Landriau, L. Le Guillou, Michael E. Levi, T. S. Li, A. Meisner, R. Miquel, J. Nie, M. Rezaie, G. Rossi, E. Sanchez, M. Schubnell, G. Tarlé, B. A. Weaver, Z. Zhou, H. Zou

*Corresponding author for this work

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There is an overwhelming evidence that white dwarfs host planetary systems; revealed by the presence, disruption, and accretion of planetary bodies. A lower limit on the frequency of white dwarfs that host planetary material has been estimated to be ≃ 25–50 per cent; inferred from the ongoing or recent accretion of metals on to both hydrogen-atmosphere and warm helium-atmosphere white dwarfs. Now with the unbiased sample of white dwarfs observed by the Dark Energy Spectroscopic Instrument (DESI) survey in their Early Data Release (EDR), we have determined the frequency of metal enrichment around cool-helium atmosphere white dwarfs as 21 ± 3 per cent using a sample of 234 systems. This value is in good agreement with values determined from previous studies. With the current samples we cannot distinguish whether the frequency of planetary accretion varies with system age or host-star mass, but the DESI data release 1 will contain roughly an order of magnitude more white dwarfs than DESI EDR and will allow these parameters to be investigated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)L27-L32
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters
Issue number1
Early online date17 Apr 2024
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2024


  • exoplanets
  • Planetary systems
  • surveys
  • white dwarfs

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