A sample of white dwarfs is selected from the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS) Data Release 3 using their reduced proper motions, based on improved proper motions from combined SDSS and USNO-B data. Numerous SDSS and follow-up spectra (Kilic and coworkers) are used to quantify completeness and contamination of the sample; kinematics models are used to understand and correct for velocity-dependent selection biases. A luminosity function is constructed covering the range 7 < M bol < 16, and its sensitivity to various assumptions and selection limits is discussed. The white dwarf luminosity function based on 6000 stars is remarkably smooth and rises nearly monotonically to M bol = 15.3. It then drops abruptly, although the small number of low-luminosity stars in the sample and their unknown atmospheric composition prevent quantitative conclusions about this decline. Stars are identified that may have high tangential velocities, and a preliminary luminosity function is constructed for them.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Astronomy and Astrophysics
- Space and Planetary Science