Volume 651, July 2021
|Number of page(s)||9|
|Section||Letters to the Editor|
|Published online||28 July 2021|
Letter to the Editor
A CHEOPS white dwarf transit search
Center for Space and Habitability, Gesellsschaftstrasse 6, 3012 Bern, Switzerland
2 Department of Astronomy, Stockholm University, AlbaNova University Center, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
3 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University College London, London WC1E 6BT, UK
4 Observatoire de Genève, Université de Genève, Chemin des maillettes 51, 1290 Sauverny, Switzerland
Accepted: 12 May 2021
White dwarf spectroscopy shows that nearly half of white dwarf atmospheres contain metals that must have been accreted from planetary material that survived the red giant phases of stellar evolution. We can use metal pollution in white dwarf atmospheres as flags, signalling recent accretion, in order to prioritize an efficient sample of white dwarfs to search for transiting material. We present a search for planetesimals orbiting six nearby white dwarfs with the CHaracterising ExOPlanet Satellite (CHEOPS). The targets are relatively faint for CHEOPS, 11 mag < G < 12.8 mag. We used aperture photometry data products from the CHEOPS mission as well as custom point-spread function photometry to search for periodic variations in flux due to transiting planetesimals. We detect no significant variations in flux that cannot be attributed to spacecraft systematics, despite reaching a photometric precision of < 2 ppt in 60 s exposures on each target. We simulate observations to show that the small survey is sensitive primarily to Moon-sized transiting objects with periods between 3 h < P < 10 h, with radii of R ≳ 1000 km.
Key words: white dwarfs / instrumentation: photometers / techniques: photometric / planets and satellites: detection
© ESO 2021
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