Category Archives: Publications

Pulsating red giant stars in eccentric binary systems discovered from Kepler space-based photometry

Authors. Beck, P. G.; Hambleton, K.; Vos, J.; Kallinger, T.; Bloemen, S.; Tkachenko, A.; García, R. A.; Østensen, R. H.; Aerts, C.; Kurtz, D. W.; De Ridder, J.; Hekker, S.; Pavlovski, K.; Mathur, S.; De Smedt, K.; Derekas, A.; Corsaro, E.; Mosser, B.; Van Winckel, H.; Huber, D.; Degroote, P.; Davies, G. R.; Prša, A.; Debosscher, J.; Elsworth, Y.; Nemeth, P.; Siess, L.; Schmid, V. S.; Pápics, P. I.; de Vries, B. L.; van Marle, A. J.; Marcos-Arenal, P.; Lobel, A.

Journal. Accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics

Abstract. The unparalleled photometric data obtained by NASA’s Kepler space telescope led to an improved understanding of red giant stars and binary stars. Seismology allows us to constrain the properties of red giants. In addition to eclipsing binaries, eccentric non-eclipsing binaries, exhibiting ellipsoidal modulations, have been detected with Kepler. We aim to study the properties of eccentric binary systems containing a red giant star and derive the parameters of the primary giant component. We apply asteroseismic techniques to determine masses and radii of the primary component of each system. For a selected target, light and radial velocity curve modelling techniques are applied to extract the parameters of the system. The effects of stellar on the binary system are studied. The paper presents the asteroseismic analysis of 18 pulsating red giants in eccentric binary systems, for which masses and radii were constrained. The orbital periods of these systems range from 20 to 440days. From radial velocity measurements we find eccentricities between e=0.2 to 0.76. As a case study we present a detailed analysis of KIC5006817. From seismology we constrain the rotational period of the envelope to be at least 165 d, roughly twice the orbital period. The stellar core rotates 13 times faster than the surface. From the spectrum and radial velocities we expect that the Doppler beaming signal should have a maximum amplitude of 300ppm in the light curve. Through binary modelling, we determine the mass of the secondary component to be 0.29$pm$0.03,$M_odot$. For KIC5006817 we exclude pseudo-synchronous rotation of the red giant with the orbit. The comparison of the results from seismology and modelling of the light curve shows a possible alignment of the rotational and orbital axis at the 2$sigma$ level. Red giant eccentric systems could be progenitors of cataclysmic variables and hot subdwarf B stars.

Links. NASA ADS, arXiv

Propagating Linear Waves in Convectively Unstable Stellar Models: A Perturbative Approach

Authors. Papini, E.; Gizon, L.; Birch, A. C.

Journal. Solar Physics, Volume 289, Issue 6, pp.1919-1929

Abstract. Linear time-domain simulations of acoustic oscillations are unstable in the stellar convection zone. To overcome this problem it is customary to compute the oscillations of a stabilized background stellar model. The stabilization affects the result, however. Here we propose to use a perturbative approach (running the simulation twice) to approximately recover the acoustic wave field while preserving seismic reciprocity. To test the method we considered a 1D standard solar model. We found that the mode frequencies of the (unstable) standard solar model are well approximated by the perturbative approach within 1 μHz for low-degree modes with frequencies near 3 mHz. We also show that the perturbative approach is appropriate for correcting rotational-frequency kernels. Finally, we comment that the method can be generalized to wave propagation in 3D magnetized stellar interiors because the magnetic fields have stabilizing effects on convection.

Links. Solar Physics, NASA ADS, arXiv

A search for pulsations in the HgMn star HD 45975 with CoRoT photometry and ground-based spectroscopy

Authors. Morel, T.; Briquet, M.; Auvergne, M.; Alecian, G.; Ghazaryan, S.; Niemczura, E.; Fossati, L.; Lehmann, H.; Hubrig, S.; Ulusoy, C.; Damerdji, Y.; Rainer, M.; Poretti, E.; Borsa, F.; Scardia, M.; Schmid, V. S.; Van Winckel, H.; De Smedt, K.; Papics, P. I.; Gameiro, J. F.; Waelkens, C.; Fagas, M.; Kaminski, K.; Dimitrov, W.; Baglin, A.; Michel, E.; Dumortier, L.; Fremat, Y.; Hensberge, H.; Jorissen, A.; Van Eck, S.

Journal. Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 561, id.A35, 14 pp.

Abstract. The existence of pulsations in HgMn stars is still being debated. To provide the first unambiguous observational detection of pulsations in this class of chemically peculiar objects, the bright star HD 45975 was monitored for nearly two months by the CoRoT satellite. Independent analyses of the light curve provides evidence of monoperiodic variations with a frequency of 0.7572 c/d and a peak-to-peak amplitude of ~2800 ppm. Multisite, ground-based spectroscopic observations overlapping the CoRoT observations show the star to be a long-period, single-lined binary. Furthermore, with the notable exception of mercury, they reveal the same periodicity as in photometry in the line moments of chemical species exhibiting strong overabundances (e.g., Mn and Y). In contrast, lines of other elements do not show significant variations. As found in other HgMn stars, the pattern of variability consists in an absorption bump moving redwards across the line profiles. We argue that the photometric and spectroscopic changes are more consistent with an interpretation in terms of rotational modulation of spots at the stellar surface. In this framework, the existence of pulsations producing photometric variations above the ~50 ppm level is unlikely in HD 45975. This provides strong constraints on the excitation/damping of pulsation modes in this HgMn star.

Links. A&A , NASA ADS, arXiv

Testing excitation models of rapidly oscillating Ap stars with interferometry

Authors. Cunha, M. S.; Alentiev, D.; Brandão, I. M.; Perraut, K.

Journal. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 436, Issue 2, p.1639-1647

Abstract. Rapidly oscillating Ap stars are unique objects in the potential they offer to study the interplay between a number of important physical phenomena, in particular, pulsations, magnetic fields, diffusion and convection. Nevertheless, the simple understanding of how the observed pulsations are excited in these stars is still in progress. In this work, we perform a test to what is possibly the most widely accepted excitation theory for this class of stellar pulsators. The test is based on the study of a subset of members of this class for which stringent data on the fundamental parameters are available thanks to interferometry. For three out of the four stars considered in this study, we find that linear, non-adiabatic models with envelope convection suppressed around the magnetic poles can reproduce well the frequency region where oscillations are observed. For the fourth star in our sample no agreement is found, indicating that a new excitation mechanism must be considered. For the three stars whose observed frequencies can be explained by the excitation models under discussion, we derive the minimum angular extent of the region where convection must be suppressed. Finally, we find that the frequency regions where modes are expected to be excited in these models are very sensitive to the stellar radius. This opens the interesting possibility of determining this quantity and related ones, such as the effective temperature or luminosity, from comparison between model predictions and observations, in other targets for which these parameters are not well determined.

Links. MNRAS, NASA ADS, arXiv

The fundamental parameters of the roAp star 10 Aquilae

Authors. Perraut, K.; Borgniet, S.; Cunha, M.; Bigot, L.; Brandão, I.; Mourard, D.; Nardetto, N.; Chesneau, O.; McAlister, H.; ten Brummelaar, T. A.; Sturmann, J.; Sturmann, L.; Turner, N.; Farrington, C.; Goldfinger, P. J.

Journal. Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 559, id.A21, 8 pp

Abstract. Context. Owing to the strong magnetic field and related abnormal surface layers existing in rapidly oscillating Ap (roAp) stars, systematic errors are likely to be present when determining their effective temperatures, which potentially compromises asteroseismic studies of this class of pulsators.
Aims: Using the unique angular resolution provided by long-baseline visible interferometry, our goal is to determine accurate angular diameters of a number of roAp targets, so as to derive unbiased effective temperatures (Teff) and provide a Teff calibration for these stars.
Methods: We obtained long-baseline interferometric observations of 10 Aql with the visible spectrograph VEGA at the combined focus of the CHARA array. We derived the limb-darkened diameter of this roAp star from our visibility measurements. Based on photometric and spectroscopic data available in the literature, we estimated the star’s bolometric flux and used it, in combination with its parallax and angular diameter, to determine the star’s luminosity and effective temperature.>
Results: We determined a limb-darkened angular diameter of 0.275 ± 0.009 mas and deduced a linear radius of R = 2.32 ± 0.09 R. For the bolometric flux we considered two datasets, leading to an effective temperature of Teff = 7800 ± 170 K and a luminosity of L/L = 18 ± 1 or Teff = 8000 ± 210 K and L/L = 19 ± 2. Finally we used these fundamental parameters together with the large frequency separation determined by asteroseismic observations to constrain the mass and the age of 10 Aql, using the CESAM stellar evolution code. Assuming a solar chemical composition and ignoring all kinds of diffusion and settling of elements, we obtained a mass M/M ~ 1.92 and an age of ~780 Gy or a mass M/M ~ 1.95 and an age of ~740 Gy, depending on the derived value of the bolometric flux.
Conclusions: For the first time, thanks to the unique capabilities of VEGA, we managed to determine an accurate angular diameter for a star smaller than 0.3 mas and to derive its fundamental parameters. In particular, by only combining our interferometric data and the bolometric flux, we derived an effective temperature that can be compared to those derived from atmosphere models. Such fundamental parameters can help for testing the mechanism responsible for the excitation of the oscillations observed in the magnetic pulsating stars.

Based on observations made with the VEGA/CHARA spectro-interferometer.

Links. A&A, NASA ADS, arXiv

Asteroseismic fundamental properties of solar-type stars observed by the NASA Kepler Mission

Authors.W. J. Chaplin, S. Basu, D. Huber, A Serenelli, L. Casagrande, V. Silva Aguirre, W. H. Ball, O. L. Creevey, L. Gizon, R. Handberg, C. Karoff, R. Lutz, J. P. Marques, A. Miglio, D. Stello, M. D. Suran, D. Pricopi, T. S. Metcalfe, M. J. P. F. G. Monteiro, J. Molenda-Zakowicz, T. Appourchaux, J. Christensen-Dalsgaard, Y. Elsworth, R. A. Garcia, G. Houdek, H. Kjeldsen, A. Bonanno, T. L. Campante, E. Corsaro, P. Gaulme, S. Hekker, S. Mathur, B. Mosser, C. Regulo, D. Salabert

Journal.The Astrophysical Journal Supplement, Volume 210, Issue 1, article id. 1, 22 pp.

Abstract.We use asteroseismic data obtained by the NASA Kepler Mission to estimate the fundamental properties of more than 500 main-sequence and sub-giant stars. Data obtained during the first 10 months of Kepler science operations were used for this work, when these solar-type targets were observed for one month each in a survey mode. Stellar properties have been estimated using two global asteroseismic parameters and complementary photometric and spectroscopic data. Homogeneous sets of effective temperatures, T_eff, were available for the entire ensemble from complementary photometry; spectroscopic estimates of T_eff and [Fe/H] were available from a homogeneous analysis of ground-based data on a subset of 87 stars. We adopt a grid-based analysis, coupling six pipeline codes to eleven stellar evolutionary grids. Through use of these different grid-pipeline combinations we allow implicitly for the impact on the results of stellar model dependencies from commonly used grids, and differences in adopted pipeline methodologies. By using just two global parameters as the seismic inputs we are able to perform a homogenous analysis of all solar-type stars in the asteroseismic cohort, including many targets for which it would not be possible to provide robust estimates of individual oscillation frequencies (due to a combination of low S/N and short dataset lengths). The median final quoted uncertainties from consolidation of the grid-based analyses are for the full ensemble (spectroscopic subset) approximately 10.8&#37 (5.4&#37) in mass, 4.4&#37 (2.2&#37) in radius, 0.017 dex (0.010 dex) in log g, and 4.3&#37 (2.8&#37) in mean density. Around 36&#37 (57 &#37) of the stars have final age uncertainties smaller than 1 Gyr. These ages will be useful for ensemble studies, but should be treated carefully on a star-by-star basis. Future analyses using individual oscillation frequencies will offer significant improvements on up to 150 stars, in particular for estimates of the ages, where having the individual frequency data is most important.

Links. IOP Science, NASA ADS, arXiv

Low-amplitude rotational modulation rather than pulsations in the CoRoT B-type supergiant HD 46769

Authors. Aerts, C.; Simón-Díaz, S.; Catala, C.; Neiner, C.; Briquet, M.; Castro, N.; Schmid, V. S.; Scardia, M.; Rainer, M.; Poretti, E.; Pápics, P. I.; Degroote, P.; Bloemen, S.; Østensen, R. H.; Auvergne, M.; Baglin, A.; Baudin, F.; Michel, E.; Samadi, R.

Journal. Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 557, id.A114, 9 pp

Abstract. Aims: We aim to detect and interpret photometric and spectroscopic variability of the bright CoRoT B-type supergiant target HD 46769 (V = 5.79). We also attempt to detect a magnetic field in the target.
Methods: We analyse a 23-day oversampled CoRoT light curve after detrending and spectroscopic follow-up data using standard Fourier analysis and phase dispersion minimization methods. We determine the fundamental parameters of the star, as well as its abundances from the most prominent spectral lines. We perform a Monte Carlo analysis of spectropolarimetric data to obtain an upper limit of the polar magnetic field, assuming a dipole field.
Results: In the CoRoT data, we detect a dominant period of 4.84 d with an amplitude of 87 ppm and some of its (sub-)multiples. Given the shape of the phase-folded light curve and the absence of binary motion, we interpret the dominant variability in terms of rotational modulation, with a rotation period of 9.69 d. Subtraction of the rotational modulation signal does not reveal any sign of pulsations. Our results are consistent with the absence of variability in the Hipparcos light curve. The spectroscopy leads to a projected rotational velocity of 72 ± 2 km s-1 and does not reveal periodic variability or the need to invoke macroturbulent line broadening. No signature of a magnetic field is detected in our data. A field stronger than ~500 G at the poles can be excluded, unless the possible non-detected field were more complex than dipolar.
Conclusions: The absence of pulsations and macroturbulence of this evolved B-type supergiant is placed into the context of instability computations and of observed variability of evolved B-type stars.

Based on CoRoT space-based photometric data; the CoRoT space mission was developed and operated by the French space agency CNES, with the participation of ESA’s RSSD and Science Programmes, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Germany, and Spain. Based on observations collected at La Silla Observatory, ESO (Chile) with the HARPS spectrograph at the 3.6 m telescope, under programme LP185.D-0056. Based on observations obtained with the HERMES spectrograph attached to the 1.2 m Mercator telescope, which is supported by the Fund for Scientific Research of Flanders (FWO), Belgium, the Research Council of KU Leuven, Belgium, the Fonds National de la Recherche Scientific (FNRS), Belgium, the Royal Observatory of Belgium, the Observatoire de Genève, Switzerland, and the Thüringer Landessternwarte Tautenburg, Germany. Based on observations obtained with the Narval spectropolarimeter at the Observatoire du Pic du Midi (France), which is operated by the Institut National des Sciences de l’Univers (INSU).

Links. A&A, NASA ADS, arXiv

The unusual roAp star KIC 8677585

Authors. Balona, L. A. ; Catanzaro, G. ; Crause, L. ; Cunha, M. S. ; Gandolfi, D. ; Hatzes, A. ; Kabath, P. ; Uytterhoeven, K. ; De Cat, P.

Journal. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Volume 432, Issue 4, p.2808-2817

Abstract. KIC 8677585 is a roAp star in the Kepler field which is unique in that there are four low-frequency variations of unknown origin in addition to more than 20 high-frequency roAp modes. We analysed all available spectroscopy and conclude that the star has a constant radial velocity and most likely not a binary. We estimate its effective temperature to be Teff = 7300 ± 200 K from high-dispersion spectra. We present an analysis of 829 d of Kepler short-cadence data which shows clear frequency and amplitude variations with a time-scale of months. The dominant low-frequency peak at 3.142 d-1 has the same frequency and amplitude variation as one of the roAp modes. We therefore conclude that the low frequencies are oscillations in the roAp star itself, but the driving mechanism is unknown. We find several frequency spacings among the roAp modes equal to the dominant low frequency, suggestive of non-linear interactions. There is also a clear spacing of 37.2 μHz which we interpret as the large separation and deduce that log g = 3.90 ± 0.03. Models with these parameters which take into account the effect of the magnetic field on the oscillations are able to reproduce the observed range of roAp frequencies, but not the observed large separation. It is found that the properties of the oscillations are sensitive to the assumed stellar parameters and that a more detailed analysis is required. The fact that low frequencies are closely coupled to the roAp frequencies calls into question our current understanding of pulsation in these stars.

Links. MNRAS, NASA ADS

Stellar Ages and Convective Cores in Field Main-sequence Stars: First Asteroseismic Application to Two Kepler Targets

Authors. V. Silva Aguirre, S. Basu, I. M. Brandão, J. Christensen-Dalsgaard, S. Deheuvels, G. Doğan, T. S. Metcalfe, A. M. Serenelli, J. Ballot, W. J. Chaplin, M. S. Cunha, A. Weiss, T. Appourchaux, L. Casagrande, S. Cassisi, O. L. Creevey, R. A. Garcia, Y. Lebreton, A. Noels, S. G. Sousa, D. Stello, T. R. White, S. D. Kawaler, H. Kjeldsen

Journal. The Astrophysical Journal, Volume 769, Issue 2, article id. 141, 17 pp. (2013)

Abstract. Using asteroseismic data and stellar evolution models we obtain the first detection of a convective core in a Kepler field main-sequence star, putting a stringent constraint on the total size of the mixed zone and showing that extra mixing beyond the formal convective boundary exists. In a slightly less massive target the presence of a convective core cannot be conclusively discarded, and thus its remaining main-sequence lifetime is uncertain. Our results reveal that best-fit models found solely by matching individual frequencies of oscillations corrected for surface effects do not always properly reproduce frequency combinations. Moreover, slightly different criteria to define what the best-fit model is can lead to solutions with similar global properties but very different interior structures. We argue that the use of frequency ratios is a more reliable way to obtain accurate stellar parameters, and show that our analysis in field main-sequence stars can yield an overall precision of 1.5%, 4%, and 10% in radius, mass, and age, respectively. We compare our results with those obtained from global oscillation properties, and discuss the possible sources of uncertainties in asteroseismic stellar modeling where further studies are still needed.

Links. The Astrophysical Journal, NASA ADSarXiv,