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Space Telescope Science Institute
White Dwarfs and Planetary Systems

J. Provencal
Univ. of Delaware, Newark DE

Astronomy traces its roots to our early struggle to understand the wanderings of planets within our solar system. We still search for an understanding of our solar system in the scheme of stellar formation. The search for extra-solar planets is difficult. Many of the best candidates have, surprisingly, not been found near main sequence stars, but around pulsars, the spinning, magnetized neutron star remnants of supernova explosions. We can apply the phase analysis techniques used successfully with pulsars to another class of variables. White dwarfs, the endpoints of stellar evolution for most stars, experience a quieter birth than pulsars. While a pulsar's planetary companions are probably second generation objects, planets around white dwarfs are almost certainly surviving members of original systems, and more closely related to our solar system. We present current limits on white dwarf planetary systems, and discuss future work.