Near-infrared observations of dusty white dwarfs

Laura K. Rogers, Siyi Xu, Amy Bonsor, Simon Hodgkin, Kate Y.L. Su, Ted Von Hippel, Michael Jura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Planetary material in the atmospheres of white dwarfs is thought to be scattered inwards from outer planetary systems. Dusty emission in the infrared traces the accretion. As the scattering of many small asteroids is a stochastic process, variability in the infrared emission is predicted. We report a 3 year near-infrared (J, H and K) monitoring campaign of 34 dusty, polluted white dwarfs which aims to search for dust emission variability. We find all white dwarfs have consistent near-infrared fluxes, implying the excess emission is stable. This suggests tidal disruption events which lead to large variabilities are rare and quick (<1 year) and become stable within a few years. For WD0408-041, the system that shows both increases and decreases in dust emission over 11 years, our K band data suggest a potential colour change associated with the dust emission that needs further nfirmation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)33-36
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
StateAccepted/In press - 2020


  • Asteroids
  • Minor planets
  • Planetary systems
  • White dwarfs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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