skip to main content
DOE PAGES title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: The frequency of gaseous debris discs around white dwarfs

Abstract

ABSTRACT A total of 1–3 per cent of white dwarfs are orbited by planetary dusty debris detectable as infrared emission in excess above the white dwarf flux. In a rare subset of these systems, a gaseous disc component is also detected via emission lines of the Ca ii 8600 Å triplet, broadened by the Keplerian velocity of the disc. We present the first statistical study of the fraction of debris discs containing detectable amounts of gas in emission at white dwarfs within a magnitude and signal-to-noise ratio limited sample. We select 7705 single white dwarfs spectroscopically observed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and Gaia with magnitudes g ≤ 19. We identify five gaseous disc hosts, all of which have been previously discovered. We calculate the occurrence rate of a white dwarf hosting a debris disc detectable via Ca ii emission lines as $$0.067\, \pm \, ^{0.042}_{0.025}$$ per cent. This corresponds to an occurrence rate for a dusty debris disc to have an observable gaseous component in emission as 4 ± $$_{2}^{4}$$ per cent. Given that variability is a common feature of the emission profiles of gaseous debris discs, and the recent detection of a planetesimal orbiting within the disc of SDSS J122859.93+104032.9, we propose that gaseous components are tracers for the presence of planetesimals embedded in the discs and outline a qualitative model. We also present spectroscopy of the Ca ii triplet 8600 Å region for 20 white dwarfs hosting dusty debris discs in an attempt to identify gaseous emission. We do not detect any gaseous components in these 20 systems, consistent with the occurrence rate that we calculated.

Authors:
ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [2];  [3];  [1]; ORCiD logo [4];  [1];  [5]; ORCiD logo [6]
  1. Department of Physics, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
  2. Department of Physics, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK, Centre for Exoplanets and Habitability, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK
  3. Department of Physics, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, UK, European Southern Observatory, Karl-Schwarzschild-Straße 2, D-85748 Garching bei München, Germany
  4. Institute of Astronomy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB3 0HA, UK
  5. Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias, E-38205 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain, Departamento de Astrofísica, Universidad de La Laguna, E-38206 La Laguna, Tenerife, Spain
  6. Institut für Physik und Astronomie, Universitätsstandort Golm, Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 24/25, D-14467 Potsdam, Germany, Instituto de Física, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, 91501-900, Porto-Alegre, RS, Brazil
Publication Date:
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE
OSTI Identifier:
1602298
Resource Type:
Published Article
Journal Name:
Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Additional Journal Information:
[Journal Name: Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society Journal Volume: 493 Journal Issue: 2]; Journal ID: ISSN 0035-8711
Publisher:
Oxford University Press
Country of Publication:
United Kingdom
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Manser, Christopher J., Gänsicke, Boris T., Gentile Fusillo, Nicola Pietro, Ashley, Richard, Breedt, Elmé, Hollands, Mark, Izquierdo, Paula, and Pelisoli, Ingrid. The frequency of gaseous debris discs around white dwarfs. United Kingdom: N. p., 2020. Web. doi:10.1093/mnras/staa359.
Manser, Christopher J., Gänsicke, Boris T., Gentile Fusillo, Nicola Pietro, Ashley, Richard, Breedt, Elmé, Hollands, Mark, Izquierdo, Paula, & Pelisoli, Ingrid. The frequency of gaseous debris discs around white dwarfs. United Kingdom. doi:10.1093/mnras/staa359.
Manser, Christopher J., Gänsicke, Boris T., Gentile Fusillo, Nicola Pietro, Ashley, Richard, Breedt, Elmé, Hollands, Mark, Izquierdo, Paula, and Pelisoli, Ingrid. Mon . "The frequency of gaseous debris discs around white dwarfs". United Kingdom. doi:10.1093/mnras/staa359.
@article{osti_1602298,
title = {The frequency of gaseous debris discs around white dwarfs},
author = {Manser, Christopher J. and Gänsicke, Boris T. and Gentile Fusillo, Nicola Pietro and Ashley, Richard and Breedt, Elmé and Hollands, Mark and Izquierdo, Paula and Pelisoli, Ingrid},
abstractNote = {ABSTRACT A total of 1–3 per cent of white dwarfs are orbited by planetary dusty debris detectable as infrared emission in excess above the white dwarf flux. In a rare subset of these systems, a gaseous disc component is also detected via emission lines of the Ca ii 8600 Å triplet, broadened by the Keplerian velocity of the disc. We present the first statistical study of the fraction of debris discs containing detectable amounts of gas in emission at white dwarfs within a magnitude and signal-to-noise ratio limited sample. We select 7705 single white dwarfs spectroscopically observed by the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) and Gaia with magnitudes g ≤ 19. We identify five gaseous disc hosts, all of which have been previously discovered. We calculate the occurrence rate of a white dwarf hosting a debris disc detectable via Ca ii emission lines as $0.067\, \pm \, ^{0.042}_{0.025}$ per cent. This corresponds to an occurrence rate for a dusty debris disc to have an observable gaseous component in emission as 4 ± $_{2}^{4}$ per cent. Given that variability is a common feature of the emission profiles of gaseous debris discs, and the recent detection of a planetesimal orbiting within the disc of SDSS J122859.93+104032.9, we propose that gaseous components are tracers for the presence of planetesimals embedded in the discs and outline a qualitative model. We also present spectroscopy of the Ca ii triplet 8600 Å region for 20 white dwarfs hosting dusty debris discs in an attempt to identify gaseous emission. We do not detect any gaseous components in these 20 systems, consistent with the occurrence rate that we calculated.},
doi = {10.1093/mnras/staa359},
journal = {Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society},
number = [2],
volume = [493],
place = {United Kingdom},
year = {2020},
month = {2}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record
DOI: 10.1093/mnras/staa359

Save / Share:

Works referenced in this record:

Fast and Slow Precession of Gaseous Debris Disks around Planet-accreting White Dwarfs
journal, April 2018


The Frequency of Debris Disks at White Dwarfs
journal, October 2012

  • Barber, Sara D.; Patterson, Adam J.; Kilic, Mukremin
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 760, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1088/0004-637X/760/1/26

Echoes of a Decaying Planetary System: the Gaseous and Dusty Disks Surrounding Three White Dwarfs
journal, September 2010


Cold Giant Planets Evaporated by Hot White Dwarfs
journal, December 2019

  • Schreiber, Matthias R.; Gänsicke, Boris T.; Toloza, Odette
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 887, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ab42e2

Spitzer IRAC Observations of White Dwarfs. I. Warm Dust at Metal‐Rich Degenerates
journal, February 2008

  • Farihi, J.; Zuckerman, B.; Becklin, E. E.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 674, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1086/521715

The accretion-diffusion scenario for metals in cool white dwarfs
journal, June 2006


A Subtle Infrared Excess Associated with a Young White Dwarf in the Edinburgh-Cape blue Object Survey
journal, October 2016


A Tidally Disrupted Asteroid around the White Dwarf G29-38
journal, February 2003

  • Jura, M.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 584, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1086/374036

Runaway accretion of metals from compact discs of debris on to white dwarfs: Runaway accretion of metals on to white dwarfs
journal, July 2011


A trio of metal-rich dust and gas discs found orbiting candidate white dwarfs with K -band excess: White dwarfs with K-band excess
journal, February 2012


Interpretation and diversity of exoplanetary material orbiting white dwarfs
journal, October 2019

  • Swan, Andrew; Farihi, Jay; Koester, Detlev
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 490, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stz2337

Circumstellar debris and pollution at white dwarf stars
journal, April 2016


Gaia Data Release 2 : Summary of the contents and survey properties
journal, August 2018


Dust production and depletion in evolved planetary systems
journal, August 2018

  • Farihi, J.; van Lieshout, R.; Cauley, P. W.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 481, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/sty2331

SDSS J104341.53+085558.2: a second white dwarf with a gaseous debris disc
journal, September 2007

  • Gansicke, B. T.; Marsh, T. R.; Southworth, J.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, Vol. 380, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1745-3933.2007.00343.x

Modeling of the Variable Circumstellar Absorption Features of WD 1145+017
journal, January 2020


Pollution of Single White Dwarfs by Accretion of many Small Asteroids
journal, April 2008


DA white dwarfs in Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7 and a search for infrared excess emission: DA white dwarfs in SDSS DR7 and UKIDSS DR8
journal, September 2011


Numerical Simulations of Collisional Cascades at the Roche Limits of White Dwarf Stars
journal, July 2017


Constraints on the Lifetimes of Disks Resulting from Tidally Destroyed Rocky Planetary Bodies
journal, April 2012


Inner Edges of Compact Debris Disks Around Metal-Rich White Dwarfs
journal, November 2012


Doppler imaging of the planetary debris disc at the white dwarf SDSS J122859.93+104032.9
journal, December 2015

  • Manser, Christopher J.; Gänsicke, Boris T.; Marsh, Thomas R.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 455, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv2603

Accretion of a giant planet onto a white dwarf star
journal, December 2019


The infrared excess of G29-38 - A brown dwarf or dust?
journal, July 1990

  • Graham, James R.; Matthews, K.; Neugebauer, G.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 357
  • DOI: 10.1086/168907

A Gaseous Metal Disk Around a White Dwarf
journal, December 2006


The unbiased frequency of planetary signatures around single and binary white dwarfs using Spitzer and Hubble
journal, April 2019

  • Wilson, Thomas G.; Farihi, Jay; Gänsicke, Boris T.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 487, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stz1050

Once in a blue moon: detection of ‘bluing' during debris transits in the white dwarf WD 1145+017
journal, April 2017

  • Hallakoun, N.; Xu (许偲艺), S.; Maoz, D.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 469, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stx924

Infrared Emission from the Dusty Disk Orbiting GD 362, an Externally Polluted White Dwarf
journal, March 2007

  • Jura, M.; Farihi, J.; Zuckerman, B.
  • The Astronomical Journal, Vol. 133, Issue 5
  • DOI: 10.1086/512734

Infrared-excess white dwarfs in the Gaia 100 pc sample
journal, September 2019

  • Rebassa-Mansergas, A.; Solano, E.; Xu(#x8BB8;#x5072;#x827A;), S.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stz2423

Evidence for an external origin of heavy elements in hot DA white dwarfs
journal, March 2014

  • Barstow, M. A.; Barstow, J. K.; Casewell, S. L.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 440, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stu216

SPITZER OBSERVATIONS OF WHITE DWARFS: THE MISSING PLANETARY DEBRIS AROUND DZ STARS
journal, January 2012


A SPITZER SPACE TELESCOPE STUDY OF THE DEBRIS DISKS AROUND FOUR SDSS WHITE DWARFS
journal, April 2012


Formation of planetary debris discs around white dwarfs – II. Shrinking extremely eccentric collisionless rings
journal, June 2015

  • Veras, Dimitri; Leinhardt, Zoë M.; Eggl, Siegfried
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 451, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv1195

Metal Lines in DA White Dwarfs
journal, October 2003

  • Zuckerman, B.; Koester, D.; Reid, I. N.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 596, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1086/377492

Compositions of Planetary Debris around Dusty White Dwarfs
journal, November 2019


SDSS J084539.17+225728.0: the first DBZ white dwarf with a metal-rich gaseous debris disc
journal, October 2008


Variable emission from a gaseous disc around a metal-polluted white dwarf
journal, October 2014

  • Wilson, D. J.; Gänsicke, B. T.; Koester, D.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 445, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stu1876

Rocky Extrasolar Planetary Compositions Derived from Externally Polluted White Dwarfs
journal, October 2011


Most white dwarfs with detectable dust discs show infrared variability
journal, February 2019

  • Swan, Andrew; Farihi, Jay; Wilson, Thomas G.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: Letters, Vol. 484, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnrasl/slz014

Formation of planetary debris discs around white dwarfs – I. Tidal disruption of an extremely eccentric asteroid
journal, October 2014

  • Veras, Dimitri; Leinhardt, Zoë M.; Bonsor, Amy
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 445, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stu1871

Detection of weak Circumstellar gas Around the daz White Dwarf wd 1124-293: Evidence for the Accretion of Multiple Asteroids
journal, July 2012


Stochastic accretion of planetesimals on to white dwarfs: constraints on the mass distribution of accreted material from atmospheric pollution
journal, February 2014

  • Wyatt, M. C.; Farihi, J.; Pringle, J. E.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 439, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stu183

Cool DZ white dwarfs I: Identification and spectral analysis
journal, January 2017

  • Hollands, M. A.; Koester, D.; Alekseev, V.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stx250

Numerical Simulations of Gaseous Disks Generated from Collisional Cascades at the Roche Limits of White Dwarf Stars
journal, November 2017


Externally Polluted White Dwarfs with Dust Disks
journal, July 2007

  • Jura, M.; Farihi, J.; Zuckerman, B.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 663, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1086/518767

Remnant planetary systems around bright white dwarfs
journal, March 2016

  • Barber, Sara D.; Belardi, Claudia; Kilic, Mukremin
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 459, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stw683

The chemical diversity of exo-terrestrial planetary debris around white dwarfs: Exo-terrestrial debris around white dwarfs
journal, May 2012


WIRED for EC: New White Dwarfs with WISE Infrared Excesses and New Classification Schemes from the Edinburgh–Cape Blue Object Survey
journal, November 2017

  • Dennihy, E.; Clemens, J. C.; Debes, John H.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 849, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.3847/1538-4357/aa8ef2

Tidal disruption of planetary bodies by white dwarfs I: a hybrid sph-analytical approach
journal, January 2020

  • Malamud, Uri; Perets, Hagai B.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 492, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/staa142

Tidal disruption of planetary bodies by white dwarfs – II. Debris disc structure and ejected interstellar asteroids
journal, January 2020

  • Malamud, Uri; Perets, Hagai B.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 493, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/staa143

Rapid Evolution of the Gaseous Exoplanetary Debris around the White Dwarf Star HE 1349–2305
journal, February 2018


A disintegrating minor planet transiting a white dwarf
journal, October 2015

  • Vanderburg, Andrew; Johnson, John Asher; Rappaport, Saul
  • Nature, Vol. 526, Issue 7574
  • DOI: 10.1038/nature15527

The heavily polluted atmosphere of the DAZ white dwarf GALEX J193156.8+011745
journal, May 2010


The composition of a disrupted extrasolar planetesimal at SDSS J0845+2257 (Ton 345)
journal, June 2015

  • Wilson, D. J.; Gänsicke, B. T.; Koester, D.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 451, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv1201

Shallow Ultraviolet Transits of WD 1145+017
journal, June 2019


Serendipitous Discovery of a Candidate Debris disk Around the da White Dwarf sdss J114404.74+052951.6
journal, September 2015


Infrared Variability of Two Dusty White Dwarfs
journal, October 2018


Evidence for Eccentric, Precessing Gaseous Debris in the Circumstellar Absorption toward WD 1145 + 017
journal, January 2018

  • Cauley, P. Wilson; Farihi, Jay; Redfield, Seth
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 852, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/aaa3d9

A Young White Dwarf with an Infrared Excess
journal, June 2015


Cool DZ white dwarfs II: compositions and evolution of old remnant planetary systems
journal, March 2018

  • Hollands, M. A.; Gänsicke, B. T.; Koester, D.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 477, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/sty592

Signs of a faint disc population at polluted white dwarfs
journal, September 2014

  • Bergfors, C.; Farihi, J.; Dufour, P.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 444, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stu1565

Ancient Planetary Systems are Orbiting a Large Fraction of White Dwarf Stars
journal, September 2010


Fast spectrophotometry of WD 1145+017
journal, August 2018

  • Izquierdo, Paula; Rodríguez-Gil, Pablo; Gänsicke, Boris T.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 481, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/sty2315

Evidence for gas from a Disintegrating Extrasolar Asteroid
journal, January 2016


The frequency and infrared brightness of circumstellar discs at white dwarfs
journal, March 2015

  • Rocchetto, M.; Farihi, J.; Gänsicke, B. T.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 449, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv282

Are There Unstable Planetary Systems around White Dwarfs?
journal, June 2002

  • Debes, John H.; Sigurdsson, Steinn
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 572, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1086/340291

A photometric selection of white dwarf candidates in Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 10
journal, February 2015

  • Gentile Fusillo, Nicola Pietro; Gänsicke, Boris T.; Greiss, Sandra
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 448, Issue 3
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv120

Six White Dwarfs with Circumstellar Silicates
journal, January 2009


The frequency of planetary debris around young white dwarfs
journal, June 2014


Global models of runaway accretion in white dwarf debris discs: Runaway accretion in white dwarf debris discs
journal, April 2012

  • Metzger, Brian D.; Rafikov, Roman R.; Bochkarev, Konstantin V.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 423, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2012.20895.x

Trace hydrogen in helium atmosphere white dwarfs as a possible signature of water accretion
journal, February 2017

  • Gentile Fusillo, Nicola Pietro; Gänsicke, Boris T.; Farihi, Jay
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 468, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stx468

Cool DZ white dwarfs in the SDSS
journal, May 2011


Metal Accretion onto White Dwarfs Caused by Poynting-Robertson drag on Their Debris Disks
journal, April 2011


The drop During less than 300 days of a Dusty White Dwarf'S Infrared Luminosity
journal, August 2014


The Polluted Atmosphere of the White Dwarf nltt 25792 and the Diversity of Circumstellar Environments
journal, November 2013


Excess infrared radiation from a white dwarf—an orbiting brown dwarf?
journal, November 1987

  • Zuckerman, B.; Becklin, E. E.
  • Nature, Vol. 330, Issue 6144
  • DOI: 10.1038/330138a0

A 3 Gyr White Dwarf with Warm Dust Discovered via the Backyard Worlds: Planet 9 Citizen Science Project
journal, February 2019

  • Debes, John H.; Thévenot, Melina; Kuchner, Marc J.
  • The Astrophysical Journal, Vol. 872, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.3847/2041-8213/ab0426

A Gaia Data Release 2 catalogue of white dwarfs and a comparison with SDSS
journal, November 2018

  • Gentile Fusillo, Nicola Pietro; Tremblay, Pier-Emmanuel; Gänsicke, Boris T.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 482, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/sty3016

Emission line formation in accretion discs
journal, February 1986

  • Horne, K.; Marsh, T. R.
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 218, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/218.4.761

The Discovery of the most Metal-Rich White Dwarf: Composition of a Tidally Disrupted Extrasolar Dwarf Planet
journal, July 2010


A Dusty Component to the Gaseous Debris disk Around the White Dwarf sdss J1228+1040
journal, April 2009


Infrared Signatures of Disrupted Minor Planets at White Dwarfs
journal, March 2009


A planetesimal orbiting within the debris disc around a white dwarf star
journal, April 2019

  • Manser, Christopher J.; Gänsicke, Boris T.; Eggl, Siegfried
  • Science, Vol. 364, Issue 6435
  • DOI: 10.1126/science.aat5330

The 2.5 m Telescope of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey
journal, April 2006

  • Gunn, James E.; Siegmund, Walter A.; Mannery, Edward J.
  • The Astronomical Journal, Vol. 131, Issue 4
  • DOI: 10.1086/500975

Gaseous Material Orbiting the Polluted, Dusty White Dwarf he 1349–2305
journal, April 2012


Another one grinds the dust: variability of the planetary debris disc at the white dwarf SDSS J104341.53+085558.2
journal, July 2016

  • Manser, Christopher J.; Gänsicke, Boris T.; Koester, Detlev
  • Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. 462, Issue 2
  • DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stw1760

Strengthening the case for Asteroidal Accretion: Evidence for Subtle and Diverse Disks at White Dwarfs
journal, April 2010