White Dwarf Luminosity and Mass Functions from Sloan Digital Sky Survey Spectra

DeGennaro, Steven
von Hippel, Ted
Winget, D. E.
Kepler, S. O.
Nitta, Atsuko
Koester, Detlev
Althaus, Leandro
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We present the first phase in our ongoing work to use Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) data to create separate white dwarf (WD) luminosity functions for two or more different mass ranges. In this paper, we determine the completeness of the SDSS spectroscopic white dwarf sample by comparing a proper-motion selected sample of WDs from SDSS imaging data with a large catalog of spectroscopically determined WDs. We derive a selection probability as a function of a single color (g-i) and apparent magnitude (g) that covers the range -1.0 < g-i < 0.2 and 15 < g < 19.5. We address the observed upturn in log g for white dwarfs with Teff <~ 12,000K and offer arguments that the problem is limited to the line profiles and is not present in the continuum. We offer an empirical method of removing the upturn, recovering a reasonable mass function for white dwarfs with Teff < 12,000K. Finally, we present a white dwarf luminosity function with nearly an order of magnitude (3,358) more spectroscopically confirmed white dwarfs than any previous work.
Comment: 30 Pages, 12 Figures, accepted for publication in The Astronomical Journal