Characterization of the Galactic White Dwarf Population in the Next Generation Virgo Cluster Survey

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Fantin, Nicholas
White Dwarf
Halo white dwarfs remain one of the least studied stellar populations in the Milky Way because of their faint luminosities. Recent work has uncovered a population of hot white dwarfs which are thought to be remnants of low-mass Population II stars. This thesis uses optical data from the Next Generation Virgo Cluster Survey (NGVS) and ultravoilet data from the GALEX Ultraviolet Virgo Cluster Survey (GUViCS) to select candidates which may belong to this population of recently formed halo white dwarfs. A colour selection was used to separate white dwarfs from QSOs and main-sequence stars. Photometric distances are calculated using model colour-absolute magnitude relations. Proper motions are calculated by using the difference in positions between objects from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey and the NGVS. The proper motions are combined with the calculated photometric distances to calculate tangential velocities, as well as approximate Galactic space velocities. White dwarf candidates are characterized as belonging to either the disk or the halo using a variety of methods, including calculated scale heights (z> 1 kpc), tangential velocities (vt >200 km/s), and their location in (V,U) space. The 20 halo white dwarf candidates which were selected using Galactic space velocities are analyzed, and their colours and temperatures suggest that these objects represent some of the youngest white dwarfs in the Galactic halo.
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