A Systematic Search for Outbursting AM CVn Systems with the Zwicky Transient Facility

September 2021 • 2021AJ....162..113V

Authors • van Roestel, Jan • Creter, Leah • Kupfer, Thomas • Szkody, Paula • Fuller, Jim • Green, Matthew J. • Rich, R. Michael • Sepikas, John • Burdge, Kevin • Caiazzo, Ilaria • Mróz, Przemek • Prince, Thomas A. • Duev, Dmitry A. • Graham, Matthew J. • Shupe, David L. • Laher, Russ R. • Mahabal, Ashish A. • Masci, Frank J.

Abstract • AM CVn systems are a rare type of accreting binary that consists of a white dwarf and a helium-rich, degenerate donor star. Using the Zwicky Transient Facility (ZTF), we searched for new AM CVn systems by focusing on blue, outbursting stars. We first selected outbursting stars using the ZTF alerts. We cross matched the candidates with Gaia and Pan-STARRS catalogs. The initial selection of candidates based on the Gaia BP-RP contains 1751 unknown objects. We used the Pan-STARRS g-r and r-i color in combination with the Gaia color to identify 59 strong AM CVn candidates. We obtained identification spectra of 35 sources, of which 18 are high-priority candidates, and discovered nine new AM CVn systems and one magnetic CV that shows only He-II lines. Using the outburst recurrence time, we estimate the orbital periods of the nine new AM CVn systems that are in the range of 29-50 minutes. We conclude that targeted follow up of blue, outbursting sources is an efficient method to find new AM CVn systems and we plan to follow up all candidates we identified to systematically study the population of outbursting AM CVn systems.


IPAC Authors

Frank Masci

Senior Scientist

Dave Shupe

Senior Scientist