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A proposed new white dwarf spectral classification system
Sion, E. M.; Greenstein, J. L.; Landstreet, J. D.; Liebert, J.; Shipman, H. L.; Wegner, G. A.
AA(Villanova University, Villanova, PA), AB(Palomar Observatory, Pasadena, CA), AC(Western Ontario, University, London, Canada), AD(Steward Observatory, Tucson, AZ), AE(Delaware, University, Newark, DE), AF(Dartmouth College, Hanover, NH)
Astrophysical Journal, Part 1 (ISSN 0004-637X), vol. 269, June 1, 1983, p. 253-257. Research supported by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. (ApJ Homepage)
Publication Date:
NASA/STI Keywords:
Classifications, Stellar Spectra, White Dwarf Stars, Stellar Color, Stellar Temperature, Visible Spectrum
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The lack of temperature distinctions among the hydrogen-dominated and helium-dominated spectral sequence of white dwarfs, the discovery of hybrid composition white dwarfs, and the many composition subclasses further complicated by variability, polarization, and other observable indicators of magnetism all speak to the need for a new system of white dwarf spectral classification. Such a new scheme is proposed and defined. It retains a link with the present system but introduces a better description of what the spectrum actually exhibits and provides quantitative temperature information. These changes are consistent with the expressed needs of investigators in the field. The combination of symbols will consist of (1) an uppercase D for degenerate; (2) an uppercase letter for primary spectroscopic type in the optical spectrum; (3) an uppercase letter for secondary spectroscopic features, if present; and (4) a temperature index from 0 to 9 defined by 10 x theta-eff (= 50,400/T).

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