SDSS J184037.78+642312.3: the First Pulsating Extremely Low Mass White Dwarf
We report the discovery of the first pulsating extremely low mass (ELM) white dwarf (WD), SDSS J184037.78+642312.3 (hereafter J1840). This DA (hydrogen-atmosphere) WD is by far the coolest and the lowest-mass pulsating WD, with T-eff = 9100 +/- 170 K and log g = 6.22 +/- 0.06, which corresponds to a mass of similar to 0.17 M-circle dot. This low-mass pulsating WD greatly extends the DAV (or ZZ Ceti) instability strip, effectively bridging the log g gap between WDs and main-sequence stars. We detect high-amplitude variability in J1840 on timescales exceeding 4000 s, with a non-sinusoidal pulse shape. Our observations also suggest that the variability is multi-periodic. The star is in a 4.6 hr binary with another compact object, most likely another WD. Future, more extensive time-series photometry of this ELM WD offers the first opportunity to probe the interior of a low-mass, presumably He-core WD using the tools of asteroseismology.