Photospheric phosphorus in the FUSE spectra of GD71 and two similar da white dwarfs

P. D. Dobbie, M. A. Barstow, I. Hubeny, J. B. Holberg, M. R. Burleigh, A. E. Forbes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


We report the detection, from the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer (FUSE) data, of phosphorus in the atmospheres of GD71 and two similar DA white dwarfs. This is the first detection of a trace metal in the photosphere of the spectrophotometric standard star GD71. Collectively, these objects represent the coolest DA white dwarfs in which photospheric phosphorus has been observed. We use a grid of homogeneous non-local thermodynamic equilibrium synthetic spectra to measure abundances of [P/H] = -8.57-0.13,+0.09 -8-70-0.370.23and -8.36-0.19+0.14 in GD71, RE J1918+595 and RE J0605-482 respectively. At the observed level we find that phosphorus has no significant impact on the overall energy distribution of GD71. We explore possible mechanisms responsible for the presence of this element in these stars, concluding that the most likely is an interplay between radiative levitation and gravitational settling, possibly modified by weak mass loss.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)763-768
Number of pages6
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Nov 1 2005


  • Stars: abundances
  • Stars: individual: GD71
  • White dwarfs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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