EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 366, Number 3, February II 2001
Page(s) 898 - 912
Section Formation, structure and evolution of stars
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20000269

A&A 366, 898-912 (2001)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20000269

The stellar content of the Hamburg/ESO survey

I. Automated selection of DA white dwarfs
N. Christlieb1, L. Wisotzki2, D. Reimers1, D. Homeier3, D. Koester3 and U. Heber4

1  Hamburger Sternwarte, Universität Hamburg, Gojenbergsweg 112, 21029 Hamburg, Germany
    e-mail: nchristlieb/dreimers@hs.uni-hamburg.de
2  Institut für Physik, Universität Potsdam, Am Neuen Palais 10, 14469 Potsdam, Germany
    e-mail: lutz@astro.physik.uni-potsdam.de
3  Institut für Theoretische Physik und Astrophysik der Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel, Leibnizstrasse 15, 24098 Kiel, Germany
    e-mail: homeier/koester@astrophysik.uni-kiel.de
4  Dr. Remeis Sternwarte, Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg, Sternwartstrasse 7, 96049 Bamberg, Germany
    e-mail: heber@sternwarte.uni-erlangen.de

(Received 30 August 2000 / Accepted 14 November 2000)

We describe automatic procedures for the selection of DA white dwarfs in the Hamburg/ESO objective-prism survey (HES). For this purpose, and the selection of other stellar objects (e.g., metal-poor stars and carbon stars), a flexible, robust algorithm for detection of stellar absorption and emission lines in the digital spectra of the HES was developed. Broad band (U-B, B-V) and intermediate band (Strömgren c1) colours can be derived directly from HES spectra, with precisions of $\sigma_{U-B}=0.092$ mag; $\sigma_{B-V}=0.095$ mag; $\sigma_{c_1}=0.15$ mag. We describe simulation techniques that allow one to convert model or slit spectra to HES spectra. These simulated objective-prism spectra are used to determine quantitative selection criteria, and for the study of selection functions. We present an atlas of simulated HES spectra of DA and DB white dwarfs. Our current selection algorithm is tuned to yield maximum efficiency of the candidate sample (minimum contamination with non-DAs). DA candidates are selected in the B-V versus U-B and c1 versus $W_\lambda({H}\beta
+{H}\gamma+{H}\delta)$ parameter spaces. The contamination of the resulting sample with hot subdwarfs is expected to be as low as $\sim$8% , while there is essentially no contamination with main sequence or horizontal branch stars. We estimate that with the present set of criteria, $\sim$80% of DAs present in the HES database are recovered. A yet higher degree of internal completeness could be reached at the expense of higher contamination. However, the external completeness is limited by additional losses caused by proper motion effects and the epoch differences between direct and spectral plates used in the HES.

Key words: surveys -- methods: data analysis -- white dwarfs

Offprint request: N. Christlieb

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