First results from pan-starrs1: Faint, high proper motion white dwarfs in the medium-deep fields

J. L. Tonry*, C. W. Stubbs, M. Kilic, H. A. Flewelling, N. R. Deacon, R. Chornock, E. Berger, W. S. Burgett, K. C. Chambers, N. Kaiser, R. P. Kudritzki, K. W. Hodapp, E. A. Magnier, J. S. Morgan, P. A. Price, R. J. Wainscoat

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


The Pan-STARRS1 survey has obtained multi-epoch imaging in five bands (Pan-STARRS1 g P1, r P1, i P1, z P1, and y P1) on 12 "Medium-Deep fields," each of which spans a 33 circle. For the period between 2009 April and 2011 April these fields were observed 50-200 times. Using a reduced proper motion diagram, we have extracted a list of 47 white dwarf (WD) candidates whose Pan-STARRS1 astrometry indicates a non-zero proper motion at the 6σ level, with a typical 1σ proper motion uncertainty of 10 mas yr-1. We also used astrometry from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (when available) and USNO-B to assess our proper motion fits. None of the WD candidates exhibits evidence of statistically significant parallaxes, with a typical 1σ uncertainty of 8 mas. Twelve of these candidates are known WDs, including the high proper motion (17 yr-1) WD LHS 291. We confirm seven more objects as WDs through optical spectroscopy. Based on the Pan-STARRS1 colors, ten of the stars are likely to be cool WDs with 4170K <T eff < 5000K and cooling ages 8Gyr. Based on their kinematics, these objects are likely thick disk WDs, but a subset may belong to the halo. Our current sample represents only a small fraction of the Pan-STARRS1 data. With continued coverage from the Medium-Deep Field Survey and the 3π survey, Pan-STARRS1 should find many more high proper motion WDs that are part of the old thick disk and halo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number42
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 20 2012


  • Galaxy: evolution
  • proper motions
  • surveys
  • white dwarfs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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