SourceMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 382, 4, (2007), pp. 1643-1647
Article / Letter to editor
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Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
The Sloan Digital Sky Survey has been instrumental in obtaining a homogeneous sample of the rare AM CVn stars: mass-transferring binary white dwarfs. As part of a campaign of spectroscopic follow-up on candidate AM CVn stars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, we have obtained time-resolved spectra of the g = 20.2 candidate SDSSJ155252.48+320150.9 on the Very Large Telescope of the European Southern Observatory. We report an orbital period P<SUB>orb</SUB> = 3376.3 +/- 0.3s, or 56.272 +/- 0.005 min, based on an observed `S-wave' in the helium emission lines of the spectra. This confirms the ultracompact nature of the binary. Despite its relative closeness to the orbital period minimum for hydrogen-rich donors, there is no evidence for hydrogen in the spectra. We thus classify SDSSJ1552 as a new bona fide AM CVn star, with the second-longest orbital period after V396 Hya (P = 65.5min). The continuum of SDSSJ1552 is compatible with either a blackbody or helium atmosphere of T<SUB>eff</SUB> = 12000-15000K. If this represents the photosphere of the accreting white dwarf, as is expected, it puts the accretor at the upper end of the temperature range predicted by thermal evolution models. This suggests that SDSS J1552 consists of (or formerly consisted of) relatively high-mass components.
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