Document Type


Publication Date



We report a peculiar variable blue star in the globular cluster (GC) NGC 6397, using Hubble Space Telescope optical imaging. Its position in the colour–magnitude diagrams and its spectrum are consistent with this star being a helium-core white dwarf (He WD) in a binary system. The optical light curve shows a periodicity at 18.5 h. We argue that this periodicity is due to the rotation of the WD and possibly due to magnetic spots on the surface of the WD. This would make this object the first candidate magnetic He WD in any GC, and the first candidate magnetic WD in a detached binary system in any GC and one of the few He WDs with a known rotation period and of magnetic nature. Another possibility is that this system is an He WD in a binary system with another WD or another degenerate object, which would make this object one of the few candidate non-accreting double-degenerate binaries in any GC.


© 2023 The Author(s) Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Royal Astronomical Society. Original published version available at

Publication Title

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society




To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.