The Hidden Population of AM CVn Binaries in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey

P. J. Carter, T. R. Marsh, D. Steeghs, E. Breedt, C. M. Copperwheat, B. T. Gansicke, P. J. Groot, G. Nelemans


We present results from a spectroscopic survey designed to uncover AM Canum Venaticorum (AM CVn) binaries hidden in the photometric database of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS). The discovery of only 7 new AM CVns in the observed part of our sample suggests a lower space density than previously predicted. Based on the complete g≤19 sample, we calculate an observed space density for AM CVns of (5 ± 3) × 10−7 pc−3. We also compare the cataclysmic variables (CVs) discovered via this survey to those found in the SDSS spectroscopy, and we discuss SBSS 1108+574, an unusually helium-rich CV that has a spectroscopically confirmed orbital period of 55 minutes, well below the CV period minimum (~80 min). SBSS 1108+574 may represent an AM CVn forming via the ‘evolved CV’ formation channel.


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ISSN 2336-5382 (Online)
Published by the Czech Technical University in Prague