Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Dr. Brian Murphy


Extremely low-mass white dwarf stars (ELM) are white dwarf stars with a mass lower than 0.45 solar masses that could not have evolved through normal processes within the lifetime of our universe. Therefore, these objects can only be created through a common envelope phase or a stable Roche lobe overflow while in a binary. These objects have periods between a few minutes to a few hours, so they are very short lived which makes them very rare. My goal for this project was to find these ELM stars by using NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) data. I analyzed this data and did follow-up research using ZTF, SDSS, and my own observations. Through my research, I was able to find 2 ELMs, 5 WD+dM binaries, and 4 cataclysmic variables. These ELMs are sources of persistent gravitational waves that will be detectable by future space-based missions.