EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 404, Number 2, June III 2003
Page(s) 593 - 609
Section Stellar atmospheres
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20030472

A&A 404, 593-609 (2003)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20030472

New evolutionary models for massive ZZ Ceti stars. I. First results for their pulsational properties

L. G. Althaus1, A. M. Serenelli1, A. H. Córsico1 and M. H. Montgomery2

1  Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y Geofísicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Paseo del Bosque S/N, 1900 La Plata, Argentina Instituto de Astrofísica de La Plata, IALP, CONICET
    e-mail: serenell$\!$,acorsico@fcaglp.unlp.edu.ar$\!$,mikemon@ast.cam.ac.uk
2  Institute of Astronomy, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HA, UK

(Received 7 November 2002 / Accepted 24 March 2003 )

We present new and improved evolutionary calculations for carbon-oxygen white dwarf (WD) stars appropriate for the study of massive ZZ Ceti stars. To this end, we follow the complete evolution of massive WD progenitors from the zero-age main sequence through the thermally pulsing and mass loss phases to the WD regime. Abundance changes are accounted for by means of a full coupling between nuclear evolution and time-dependent mixing due to diffusive overshoot, semiconvection and salt fingers. In addition, time-dependent element diffusion for multicomponent gases has been considered during the WD stage. Emphasis is placed on the chemistry variations along the whole evolution. In particular, we find that before the ZZ Ceti stage is reached, element diffusion has strongly smoothed out the chemical profile to such a degree that the resulting internal abundance distribution does not depend on the occurrence of overshoot episodes during the thermally pulsing phase. The mass of the hydrogen envelope left at the ZZ Ceti domain amounts to $M_{\rm H} \approx$ 2.3 $\times
10^{-6}$   $M_{\odot}$. This is about half as large as for the case when element diffusion is neglected. The implications of our new models for the pulsational properties of massive ZZ Ceti stars are discussed. In this regard, we find that the occurrence of core overshooting during central helium burning leaves strong imprints on the theoretical period spectrum of massive ZZ Ceti stars. Finally, we present a simple new prescription for calculating the He/H profile which goes beyond the trace element approximation.

Key words: stars: evolution -- stars: abundances -- stars: AGB stars: interiors -- stars: white dwarfs -- stars: oscillations

Offprint request: L. G. Althaus, althaus@fcaglp.fcaglp.unlp.edu.ar

© ESO 2003