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Journal of Physics: Conference Series


We present results from our analysis of a sample of DA white dwarfs having effective temperature below 25,000 K observed with the FUSE satellite with the goals of better understanding the origin of metals detected in the atmosphere of these stars. When possible, we combine the FUSE spectra with the IUE spectra and determine atmospheric parameters by fitting the Lyman line profiles. In general we find a good agreement with published values based on fits of the Balmer series. We observe that the continuum in the blue wing of the Lyman α line profile is generally lower in comparison with model spectra and that the discrepancy appears to become less important at higher effective temperature. The agreement between models and observations is excellent at wavelengths shorter than 1100 , which gives us confidence in the determination of atmospheric parameters. Finally, using adopted atmospheric parameters; we have performed a detailed analysis of the composition of these stars. In several instances, we have observed the presence of silicon and in one case that of carbon. For each star in the sample we have either measured or set an upper limit on the presence of key species such as CII, CIII, SiIII, and SiIV. We then compare the measured abundances with equilibrium abundance predicted by radiative levitation theory for each star. In this limited sample, we find that when detected, the abundance of silicon is in good agreement with theory. However there are several cases where the upper limits are smaller than the predictions and one case where it is considerably larger.



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