A survey for radio emission from white dwarfs in the VLA Sky Survey


Radio emission has been detected from tens of white dwarfs, in particular in accreting systems. Additionally, radio emission has been predicted as a possible outcome of a planetary system around a white dwarf. We searched for 3 GHz radio continuum emission in 846 000 candidate white dwarfs previously identified in Gaia using the Very Large Array Sky Survey (VLASS) Epoch 1 Quick Look Catalogue. We identified 13 candidate white dwarfs with a counterpart in VLASS within 2 arcsec. Five of those were found not to be white dwarfs in follow-up or archival spectroscopy, whereas seven others were found to be chance alignments with a background source in higher resolution optical or radio images. The remaining source, WDJ204259.71+152108.06, is found to be a white dwarf and M-dwarf binary with an orbital period of 4.1 d and long-Term stochastic optical variability, as well as luminous radio and X-ray emission. For this binary, we find no direct evidence of a background contaminant, and a chance alignment probability of only ≈2 per cent. However, other evidence points to the possibility of an unfortunate chance alignment with a background radio and X-ray emitting quasar, including an unusually poor Gaia DR3 astrometric solution for this source. With at most one possible radio emitting white dwarf found, we conclude that strong (a1-3 mJy) radio emission from white dwarfs in the 3 GHz band is virtually non-existent outside of interacting binaries.


© 2024 The Author(s). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society. cc-by


radio continuum: general, white dwarfs


Pelisoli, I., Chomiuk, L., Strader, J., Marsh, T.R., Aydi, E., Dage, K.C., Kyer, R., Molina, I., Panurach, T., Urquhart, R., Maccarone, T.J., Rich, R.M., Rodriguez, A.C., Breedt, E., Brown, A.J., Dhillon, V.S., Dyer, M.J., Gaensicke, B.T., Garbutt, J.A., . . . Parsons, S.G.. 2024. A survey for radio emission from white dwarfs in the VLA Sky Survey. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 531(1). https://doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stae1275