The origin of hot white dwarf circumstellar features

We have analysed a sample of 23 hot DAs to better understand the source of the circumstellar features reported in previous work. Unambiguous detections of circumstellar material are again made at eight stars. The velocities of the circumstellar material at three of the white dwarfs are coincident with the radial velocities of interstellar medium (ISM) along the sight-line to the stars, suggesting that the objects may be ionizing the ISM in their locality. In three further cases, the circumstellar velocities are close to the ISM velocities, indicating that these objects are ionizing either the ISM or evaporated planetesimals/material in a circumstellar disc. The circumstellar velocity at WD 1614-084 lies far from the ISM velocities, indicating the ionization of either an undetected ISM component or circumstellar material. The material seen at WD0232+035 can be attributed to the photoionization of material lost from its M dwarf companion. The measured column densities of the circumstellar material lie within the ionized ISM column density ranges predicted to exist in hot DA Strömgren spheres..




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