We investigated the prospects for systematic searches of white dwarfs at low Galactic latitudes, using the VLT Survey Telescope Hα Photometric Survey of the Galactic plane and Bulge (VPHAS+). We targeted 17 white dwarf candidates along sightlines of known open clusters, aiming to identify potential cluster members. We confirmed all the 17 white dwarf candidates from blue/optical spectroscopy, and we suggest five of them to be likely cluster members. We estimated progenitor ages and masses for the candidate cluster members, and compare our findings to those for other clusterwhite dwarfs. Awhite dwarf in NGC3532 is themostmassive known cluster member (1.13 M⊙), likely with an oxygen-neon core, for which we estimate an 8.8-4.3 +1.2 M⊙ progenitor, close to the mass-divide between white dwarf and neutron star progenitors. A cluster member in Ruprecht 131 is a magnetic white dwarf, whose progenitor mass exceeded 2-3 M⊙. We stress that wider searches, and improved cluster distances and ages derived from data of the ESA Gaia mission, will advance the understanding of the mass-loss processes for low- to intermediate-mass stars.
- stars: AGB and post-AGB
- stars: mass-loss
- stars: neutron
- white dwarfs
- open clusters and associations: general