P. Bergeron

Universidad de La Laguna, San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Canary Islands, Spain

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Publications (242)849.58 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We have identified eight to ten new cool white dwarfs from the Large Area Survey (LAS) Data Release 9 of the United Kingdom InfraRed Telescope (UKIRT) Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS). The data set was paired with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to obtain proper motions and a broad ugrizYJHK wavelength coverage. Optical spectroscopic observations were secured at Gemini Observatory and confirm the degenerate status for eight of our targets. The final sample includes two additional white dwarf candidates with no spectroscopic observations. We rely on improved 1D model atmospheres and new multi-dimensional simulations with CO5BOLD to review the stellar parameters of the published LAS white dwarf sample along with our additional discoveries. Most of the new objects possess very cool atmospheres with effective temperatures below 5000 K, including two pure-hydrogen remnants with a cooling age between 8.5 and 9.0 Gyr, and tangential velocities in the range 40 km/s < vtan < 60 km/s. They are likely thick disk 10-11 Gyr-old objects. In addition we find a resolved double degenerate system with vtan ~ 155 km/s and a cooling age between 3.0 and 5.0 Gyr. These white dwarfs could be disk remnants with a very high velocity or former halo G stars. We also compare the LAS sample with earlier studies of very cool degenerates and observe a similar deficit of helium-dominated atmospheres in the range 5000 < Teff (K) < 6000. We review the possible explanations for the spectral evolution from helium-dominated towards hydrogen-rich atmospheres at low temperatures.
    The Astrophysical Journal 05/2014; 788(2). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We first present a brief description of the six distinct families of pulsating white dwarfs that are now known. These are all opacity-driven pulsators showing low- to mid-order, low-degree gravity modes. We then discuss some recent highlights that have come up in the field of white dwarf asteroseismology.
    01/2014;
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    M. -M. Limoges, S. Lepine, P. Bergeron
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    ABSTRACT: We present the preliminary results of a survey aimed at significantly increasing the range and completeness of the local census of spectroscopically confirmed white dwarfs. The current census of nearby white dwarfs is reasonably complete only to about 20 parsecs of the Sun, a volume that includes around 130 white dwarfs, a sample too small for detailed statistical analyses. This census is largely based on follow-up investigations of stars with very large proper motions. We describe here the basis of a method that will lead to a catalog of white dwarfs within 40 parsecs of the Sun and north of the celestial equator, thus increasing by a factor of 8 the extent of the northern sky census. White dwarf candidates are identified from the SUPERBLINK proper motion database, allowing us to investigate stars down to a proper motion limit mu>40 mas yr-1, while minimizing the kinematic bias for nearby objects. The selection criteria and distance estimates are based on a combination of color-magnitude and reduced proper motion diagrams. Our follow-up spectroscopic observation campaign has so far uncovered 193 new white dwarfs, among which we identify 127 DA (including 9 DA+dM and 4 magnetic), 1 DB, 56 DC, 3 DQ, and 6 DZ stars. We perform a spectroscopic analysis on a subsample of 84 DAs, and provide their atmospheric parameters. In particular, we identify 11 new white dwarfs with spectroscopic distances within 25 pc of the Sun, including 5 candidates to the D<20 pc subset.
    The Astronomical Journal 03/2013; 145(5). · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present extensive calculations of linear and non-linear limb-darkening coefficients as well as complete intensity profiles appropriate for modeling the light-curves of eclipsing white dwarfs. We compute limb-darkening coefficients in the Johnson-Kron-Cousins UBVRI photometric system as well as the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (LSST) ugrizy system using the most up-to-date model atmospheres available. In all, we provide the coefficients for seven different limb-darkening laws. We describe the variations of these coefficients as a function of the atmospheric parameters, including the effects of convection at low effective temperatures. Finally, we discuss the importance of having readily available limb-darkening coefficients in the context of present and future photometric surveys like the LSST, Palomar Transient Factory, and the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS). The LSST, for example, may find ~10^5 eclipsing white dwarfs. The limb-darkening calculations presented here will be an essential part of the detailed analysis of all of these systems.
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2013; 766(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: White dwarf stars with a surface composition completely dominated by carbon and oxygen, the so-called Hot DQs, are found to be magnetic in an extremely high proportion. Here we present new high-resolution spectroscopic observations with the VLT and try to determine whether all Hot DQs could be magnetic at some level. We also discuss further the idea that most, if not all, white dwarfs showing either C I or C II atomic absorption lines in the optical may form a continuous sequence of massive white dwarf stars.
    01/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: White dwarf stars cool as they age, hence they can be used as chronometers for various stellar systems. Their value as clocks depends critically on how well we understand the physics of cooling. In this contribution we outline how to derive an empirical cooling sequence and then compare it with a standard white dwarf cooling model. Some differences are noted suggesting that there is still missing physics in the models. A more detailed version of this communication can be found in Goldsbury et al. (2012).
    Memorie della Societa Astronomica Italiana. 01/2013;
  • P. Bergeron, P. Dufour, N. Giammichele
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    ABSTRACT: We recently published a detailed model atmosphere, spectroscopic, and photometric analysis of nearby white dwarf candidates within a distance of 20 pc from the Sun. During the course of this study, we encountered some intriguing results that remained unexplained and unpublished. We discuss here some of these results.
    01/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: Here, we report on the white dwarf catalog built from the SDSS DR7 (Cat. II/294). We have applied automated techniques supplemented by complete, consistent human identifications of each candidate white dwarf spectrum. We make use of the latest SDSS reductions and white dwarf model atmosphere improvements in our spectral fits, providing logg and Teff determinations for each identified clean DA and DB where we use the word "clean" to identify spectra that show only features of non-magnetic, nonmixed, DA or DB stars. Our catalog includes all white dwarf stars from the earlier Kleinman et al. (2004, Cat. J/ApJ/607/426) and Eisenstein et al. (2006, Cat. J/ApJS/167/40) catalogs, although occasionally with different identifications. (1 data file).
    VizieR Online Data Catalog. 01/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We present a new catalog of spectroscopically-confirmed white dwarf stars from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey Data Release 7 spectroscopic catalog. We find 20,407 white dwarf spectra, representing 19,712 stars, and provide atmospheric model fits to 14,120 DA and 1011 DB white dwarf spectra from 12,843 and 923 stars, respectively. These numbers represent a more than factor of two increase in the total number of white dwarf stars from the previous SDSS white dwarf catalog based on DR4 data. Our distribution of subtypes varies from previous catalogs due to our more conservative, manual classifications of each star in our catalog, supplementing our automatic fits. In particular, we find a large number of magnetic white dwarf stars whose small Zeeman splittings mimic increased Stark broadening that would otherwise result in an overestimated log(g) if fit as a non-magnetic white dwarf. We calculate mean DA and DB masses for our clean, non-magnetic sample and find the DB mean mass is statistically larger than that for the DAs.
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 12/2012; · 16.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present an empirical determination of the white dwarf cooling sequence in the globular cluster 47 Tucanae. Using spectral models, we determine temperatures for 887 objects from Wide Field Camera 3 data, as well as 292 objects from data taken with the Advanced Camera for Surveys. We make the assumption that the rate of white dwarf formation in the cluster is constant. Stellar evolution models are then used to determine the rate at which objects are leaving the main sequence, which must be the same as the rate at which objects are arriving on the white dwarf sequence in our field. The result is an empirically derived relation between temperature ($T_{eff}$) and time ($t$) on the white dwarf cooling sequence. Comparing this result to theoretical cooling models, we find general agreement with the expected slopes between 20,000K and 30,000K and between 6,000K and 20,000K, but the transition to the Mestel cooling rate of $T_{eff} \propto t^{-0.4}$ is found to occur at hotter temperatures, and more abruptly than is predicted by any of these models.
    The Astrophysical Journal 09/2012; 760(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Studies of cool white dwarfs in the solar neighbourhood have placed a limit on the age of the Galactic disk of 8-9 billion years. However, determining their cooling ages requires the knowledge of their effective temperatures, masses, radii, and atmospheric composition. So far, these parameters could only be inferred for a small number of ultracool white dwarfs for which an accurate distance is known, by fitting their spectral energy distributions (SEDs) in conjunction with a theoretical mass-radius relation. However, the mass-radius relation remains largely untested, and the derived cooling ages are hence model-dependent. Here we report direct measurements of the mass and radius of an ultracool white dwarf in the double-lined eclipsing binary SDSS J013851.54-001621.6. We find M(WD)=0.529+/-0.010Msol and R(WD)=0.0131+/-0.0003Rsol. Our measurements are consistent with the mass-radius relation and we determine a robust cooling age of 9.5 billion years for the 3570K white dwarf. We find that the mass and radius of the low mass companion star, M(sec)=0.132+/-0.003Msol and R(sec)=0.165+/-0.001Rsol, are in agreement with evolutionary models. We also find evidence that this >9.5 Gyr old M5 star is still active, far beyond the activity lifetime for a star of its spectral type. This is likely caused by the high tidally-enforced rotation rate of the star. The companion star is close to filling its Roche lobe and the system will evolve into a cataclysmic variable in only 70 Myr. Our direct measurements demonstrate that this system can be used to calibrate ultracool white dwarf atmospheric models.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 07/2012; 426(3). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: By selecting astrometric and photometric data from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS), the L{\'e}pine & Shara Proper Motion North Catalog (LSPM-North), the Two Micron All Sky Survey (2MASS), and the USNO-B1.0 catalog, we use a succession of methods to isolate white dwarf candidates for follow-up spectroscopy. Our methods include: reduced proper motion diagram cuts, color cuts, and atmospheric model adherence. We present spectroscopy of 26 white dwarfs obtained from the CTIO 4m and APO 3.5m telescopes. Additionally, we confirm 28 white dwarfs with spectra available in the SDSS DR7 database but unpublished elsewhere, presenting a total of 54 WDs. We label one of these as a recovered WD while the remaining 53 are new discoveries. We determine physical parameters and estimate distances based on atmospheric model analyses. Three new white dwarfs are modeled to lie within 25 pc. Two additional white dwarfs are confirmed to be metal-polluted (DAZ). Follow-up time series photometry confirms another object to be a pulsating ZZ Ceti white dwarf.
    The Astronomical Journal 03/2012; 143(4). · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    N Giammichele, P Bergeron, P Dufour
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    ABSTRACT: We present improved atmospheric parameters of nearby white dwarfs lying within 20 pc of the Sun. The aim of the current study is to obtain the best statistical model of the least-biased sample of the white dwarf population. A homogeneous analysis of the local population is performed combining detailed spectroscopic and photometric analyses based on improved model atmosphere calculations for various spectral types including DA, DB, DC, DQ, and DZ stars. The spectroscopic technique is applied to all stars in our sample for which opti-cal spectra are available. Photometric energy distributions, when available, are also combined to trigonometric parallax measurements to derive effective tem-peratures, stellar radii, as well as atmospheric compositions. A revised catalog of white dwarfs in the solar neighborhood is presented. We provide, for the first time, a comprehensive analysis of the mass distribution and the chemical distribution of white dwarf stars in a volume-limited sample.
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 03/2012; 199(2). · 16.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a new model atmosphere analysis of the most metal contaminated white dwarf known, the DBZ SDSS J073842.56+183509.06. Using new high resolution spectroscopic observations taken with Keck and Magellan, we determine precise atmospheric parameters and measure abundances of 14 elements heavier than helium. We also report new Spitzer mid-infrared photometric data that are used to better constrain the properties of the debris disk orbiting this star. Our detailed analysis, which combines data taken from 7 different observational facilities (GALEX, Gemini, Keck, Magellan, MMT, SDSS and Spitzer) clearly demonstrate that J0738+1835 is accreting large amounts of rocky terrestrial-like material that has been tidally disrupted into a debris disk. We estimate that the body responsible for the photospheric metal contamination was at least as large Ceres, but was much drier, with less than 1% of the mass contained in the form of water ice, indicating that it formed interior to the snow line around its parent star. We also find a correlation between the abundances (relative to Mg and bulk Earth) and the condensation temperature; refractory species are clearly depleted while the more volatile elements are possibly enhanced. This could be the signature of a body that formed in a lower temperature environment than where Earth formed. Alternatively, we could be witnessing the remains of a differentiated body that lost a large part of its outer layers.
    The Astrophysical Journal 01/2012; 749(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a new distance determination to the Galactic globular cluster 47 Tucanae by fitting the spectral energy distributions of its white dwarfs to pure hydrogen atmosphere white dwarf models. Our photometric data set is obtained from a 121 orbit Hubble Space Telescope program using the Wide Field Camera 3 UVIS/IR channels, capturing F390W, F606W, F110W, and F160W images. These images cover more than 60 arcmin2 and extend over a radial range of 5-13.7 arcmin (6.5-17.9 pc) within the globular cluster. Here, we present our best fitting distance modulus using a likelihood analysis. We also search the white dwarf photometry for infrared excess in the F160W filter, indicative of protoplanetary disks or low mass companions, and find no convincing cases within our sample.
    01/2012;
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    ABSTRACT: We present a new distance determination to the Galactic globular cluster 47 Tucanae by fitting the spectral energy distributions of its white dwarfs to pure hydrogen atmosphere white dwarf models. Our photometric dataset is obtained from a 121 orbit Hubble Space Telescope program using the Wide Field Camera 3 UVIS/IR channels, capturing F390W, F606W, F110W, and F160W images. These images cover more than 60 square arcmins and extend over a radial range of 5-13.7 arcmin (6.5-17.9 pc) within the globular cluster. Using a likelihood analysis, we obtain a best fitting unreddened distance modulus of (m - M)o=13.36+/-0.02+/-0.06 corresponding to a distance of 4.70+/-0.04+/-0.13 kpc, where the first error is random and the second is systematic. We also search the white dwarf photometry for infrared excess in the F160W filter, indicative of debris disks or low mass companions, and find no convincing cases within our sample.
    The Astronomical Journal 12/2011; 143(2). · 4.97 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have conducted a spectroscopic survey of over 1300 bright (V < 17.5), hydrogen-rich white dwarfs based largely on the last published version of the McCook & Sion catalog. The complete results from our survey, including the spectroscopic analysis of over 1100 DA white dwarfs, are presented. High signal-to-noise ratio optical spectra were obtained for each star and were subsequently analyzed using our standard spectroscopic technique where the observed Balmer line profiles are compared to synthetic spectra computed from the latest generation of model atmospheres appropriate for these stars. First, we present the spectroscopic content of our sample, which includes many misclassifications as well as several DAB, DAZ, and magnetic white dwarfs. Next, we look at how the new Stark broadening profiles affect the determination of the atmospheric parameters. When necessary, specific models and analysis techniques are used to derive the most accurate atmospheric parameters possible. In particular, we employ M dwarf templates to obtain better estimates of the atmospheric parameters for those white dwarfs that are in DA+dM binary systems. Certain unique white dwarfs and double-degenerate binary systems are also analyzed in greater detail. We then examine the global properties of our sample including the mass distribution and their distribution as a function of temperature. We then proceed to test the accuracy and robustness of our method by comparing our results to those of other surveys such as SPY and SDSS. Finally, we revisit the ZZ Ceti instability strip and examine how the determination of its empirical boundaries are affected by the latest line profile calculations.
    The Astrophysical Journal 09/2011; 743. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The surface gravities of cool (Teff < 13,000 K) hydrogen-atmosphere DA white dwarfs, determined from spectroscopic analyses, are found to be significantly higher than the canonical value of log g ~ 8 expected for these stars. It was recently concluded that a problem with the treatment of convective energy transport within the framework of the mixing-length theory was the most plausible explanation for this high-log g problem. We pursue the investigation of this discrepancy by computing model spectra of cool convective white dwarfs from a small sequence (11,300 K < Teff < 12,800 K) of 3D hydrodynamical model atmospheres, which feature a sophisticated treatment of convection and radiative transfer. Our approach is to proceed with a differential analysis between 3D and standard 1D models. We find that the 3D spectra predict significantly lower surface gravities, with corrections of the right amplitude as a function of effective temperature to obtain values of log g ~ 8 on average. We conclude that the surface gravity distribution of cool convective DA white dwarfs is much closer to that of hotter radiative objects when using, for the treatment of the convection, 3D models instead of the mixing-length framework.
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 06/2011; 531. · 5.08 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present a detailed analysis of 108 helium-line (DB) white dwarfs based on model atmosphere fits to high signal-to-noise optical spectroscopy. We derive a mean mass of 0.67 Mo for our sample, with a dispersion of only 0.09 Mo. White dwarfs also showing hydrogen lines, the DBA stars, comprise 44% of our sample, and their mass distribution appears similar to that of DB stars. As in our previous investigation, we find no evidence for the existence of low-mass (M < 0.5 Mo) DB white dwarfs. We derive a luminosity function based on a subset of DB white dwarfs identified in the Palomar-Green survey. We show that 20% of all white dwarfs in the temperature range of interest are DB stars, although the fraction drops to half this value above Teff ~ 20,000 K. We also show that the persistence of DB stars with no hydrogen features at low temperatures is difficult to reconcile with a scenario involving accretion from the interstellar medium, often invoked to account for the observed hydrogen abundances in DBA stars. We present evidence for the existence of two different evolutionary channels that produce DB white dwarfs: the standard model where DA stars are transformed into DB stars through the convective dilution of a thin hydrogen layer, and a second channel where DB stars retain a helium-atmosphere throughout their evolution. We finally demonstrate that the instability strip of pulsating V777 Her white dwarfs contains no nonvariables, if the hydrogen content of these stars is properly accounted for.
    The Astrophysical Journal 05/2011; 737(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present the results of a search for cool white dwarfs in the United Kingdom InfraRed Telescope (UKIRT) Infrared Deep Sky Survey (UKIDSS) Large Area Survey (LAS). The UKIDSS LAS photometry was paired with the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) to identify cool hydrogen-rich white dwarf candidates by their neutral optical colors and blue near-infrared colors, as well as faint Reduced Proper Motion magnitudes. Optical spectroscopy was obtained at Gemini Observatory, and showed the majority of the candidates to be newly identified cool degenerates, with a small number of G- to K-type (sub)dwarf contaminants. Our initial search of 280 deg2 of sky resulted in seven new white dwarfs with effective temperature T_eff ~ 6000 K. The current followup of 1400 deg2 of sky has produced thirteen new white dwarfs. Model fits to the photometry show that seven of the newly identified white dwarfs have 4120 K <= T_eff <= 4480 K, and cooling ages between 7.3 Gyr and 8.7 Gyr; they have 40 km/s <= v_tan <= 85 km/s and are likely to be thick disk 10-11 Gyr-old objects. The other half of the sample has 4610 K <= T_eff <= 5260 K, cooling ages between 4.3 Gyr and 6.9 Gyr, and 60 km/s <= v_tan <= 100 km/s. These are either thin disk remnants with unusually high velocities, or lower-mass remnants of thick disk or halo late-F or G stars.
    The Astrophysical Journal 04/2011; 735. · 6.73 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

4k Citations
849.58 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 2014
    • Universidad de La Laguna
      • Department of Astrophysics
      San Cristóbal de La Laguna, Canary Islands, Spain
  • 1987–2014
    • Université de Montréal
      • Department of Physics
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 2013
    • American Museum of Natural History
      • Division of Physical Sciences
      New York City, New York, United States
  • 1993–2013
    • Université du Québec à Montréal
      • Department of Music
      Montréal, Quebec, Canada
  • 2011
    • Carnegie Institution for Science
      Washington, West Virginia, United States
    • University of California, San Diego
      • Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences (CASS)
      San Diego, California, United States
  • 1992–2011
    • Space Telescope Science Institute
      Baltimore, Maryland, United States
    • Universities Space Research Association
      Houston, Texas, United States
  • 2008
    • Georgia State University
      • Department of Physics and Astronomy
      Atlanta, Georgia, United States
  • 2007
    • Victoria University of Wellington
      • School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
      Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
    • Polytechnic University of Catalonia
      • Department of Applied Physics (FA)
      Barcino, Catalonia, Spain
  • 1990–1994
    • The University of Arizona
      • Department of Astronomy
      Tucson, Arizona, United States