Author: JJ Hermes

Testing Ages Using Spectroscopy of White Dwarfs

In May 2024, a manuscript led by graduate student and BUWD member Tyler Heintz (Heintz, Hermes, Tremblay et al. 2024) announced the most detailed test of white dwarf ages measured from spectroscopic fits in wide WD+WD binaries. By comparing the age estimates of wide pairs of stars that should have both been born at the […]

Gaia’s Light Curve Prospects

In April 2024, a manuscript led by former BU undergraduate student and BUWD member Maya Steen (Steen, Hermes, Guidry et al. 2024) detailed one of the first systematic analyses of Gaia DR3 multi-epoch light curves, this focused on white dwarfs. Roughly 1300 candidate white dwarfs have Gaia light curves (spanning roughly 1000 days with visits […]

JWST directly images two giant planet candidates

In January 2024, a manuscript led by Susan Mullally from Space Telescope Science Institute and including members of the BUWD group (Mullally et al. 2024) announced that JWST has directly images giant planet candidates around two metal-polluted white dwarf stars. The two planet candidates (JWST/MIRI images shown above) are consistent with 1-7 Jupiter-mass planets on […]

USRA Distinguished Undergraduate award

Former BU White Dwarf researcher Madi VanWyngarden, who worked with us in Summer 2021 and helped with our discovery of many new pulsating white dwarfs in TESS, has recently been honored with a 2023 Universities Space Research Association (USRA) Distinguished Undergraduate Award. Madi is one of only five recipients of this year’s award, and the […]

A 23-min binary in TESS

In November 2023, a manuscript led by Matthew Green from the Max-Planck-Institut für Astronomie in Heidelberg, Germany and including members of the BUWD group (Green, Hermes, Barlow et al. 2023) announced the discovery of the shortest-period binary system yet found by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS)! Although TESS is tuned to finding transiting exoplanets, […]

TESS’s first gravitational wave source

In August 2023, a manuscript led by James Munday from the University of Warwick and including members of the BUWD group (Munday, Tremblay, Hermes, et al. 2023) announced the discovery of an eclipsing, 47.19-min double-white-dwarf binary first identified by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite. The pair of stars are massive enough (0.40 and 0.28 solar […]

A two-faced white dwarf

In July 2023, a manuscript led by Ilaria Caiazzo from Caltech and including members of the BUWD group was published in Nature announcing the discovery of an enigmatic new star: a white dwarf that is entirely composed of hydrogen on one side and helium on the other. Every 15 minutes the star rotates once on […]

Emerging magnetism in white dwarfs

The BUWD group continues observational efforts to understand the emergence of strong magnetic fields in white dwarf stars as they cool down with age. In June 2023, BUWD group members helped in the discovery of two new stars with variable, strongly magnetic Balmer emission lines corresponding to surface magnetic fields more than 5 MG (more […]

A hidden white dwarf found

In September 2022, a manuscript led by undergraduate student at High Point University, Bryce Smith, and including members of the BUWD group has been published (Smith, Barlow, Rosenthal, Hermes & Schaffenroth 2022), which announces the discovery of an unseen, cool white dwarf using the stable pulsations of a stripped red giant star. This work implements […]

EuroWD Conference, Aug. 2022

Four members of the BU White Dwarf group traveled to present research results at the 22nd European Workshop on White Dwarfs, this summer held in Tübingen, Germany. The conferences in this series are typically biannual and feature more than 150 international researchers focused on the endpoints of stars, planets, and binary systems.