Stellar Autopsies from White Dwarf Pulsations
JJ Hermes
University of North Carolina



As the endpoints of all low-mass stars, white dwarfs serve as a representative sample for the future of stars like our Sun, as well as binary and even planetary systems. Precision measurements of these stellar fossils can help us calibrate how we expect stars to evolve. We are nearing the end of a multi-year effort to find and monitor thousands of evolved stars using the second-life of the Kepler space telescope, K2. The unprecedented light curves we have collected are revolutionizing our understanding of white dwarfs, by studying those that pulsate with the tools of asteroseismology. The data have also illuminated white dwarf rotation rates, providing fresh insight into how and when stars lose most of their angular momentum. I will review our biggest insights, the bright future with TESS, and a surprising discovery enabled by Kepler along the way.