EDP Sciences
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Volume 476, Number 3, December IV 2007
Page(s) 1317 - 1329
Section Stellar structure and evolution
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20078433

A&A 476, 1317-1329 (2007)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20078433

Observations and asteroseismic analysis of the rapidly pulsating hot B subdwarf PG 0911+456

S. K. Randall1, E. M. Green2, V. Van Grootel3, 4, G. Fontaine3, S. Charpinet4, M. Lesser2, P. Brassard3, T. Sugimoto2, P. Chayer5, 6, A. Fay2, P. Wroblewski2, M. Daniel2, S. Story2, and T. Fitzgerald2

1  ESO, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
    e-mail: srandall@eso.org
2  Steward Observatory, University of Arizona, 933 North Cherry Avenue, Tucson, AZ 85721, USA
3  Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada
4  UMR 5572, Université Paul Sabatier et CNRS, Observatoire Midi-Pyrénées, 14 Av. E. Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
5  Department of Physics and Astronomy, John Hopkins University, 3400 North Charles Street, Baltimore, MD 21218-2686, USA
6  Primary affiliation: Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Victoria, PO Box 3055, Victoria, BC V8W 3P6, Canada

(Received 7 August 2007 / Accepted 16 October 2007)

Aims.The principal aim of this project is to determine the structural parameters of the rapidly pulsating subdwarf B star PG 0911+456 from asteroseismology. Our work forms part of an ongoing programme to constrain the internal characteristics of hot B subdwarfs with the long-term goal of differentiating between the various formation scenarios proposed for these objects. So far, a detailed asteroseismic interpretation has been carried out for 6 such pulsators, with apparent success. First comparisons with evolutionary theory look promising, however it is clear that more targets are needed for meaningful statistics to be derived.
Methods.The observational pulsation periods of PG 0911+456 were extracted from rapid time-series photometry using standard Fourier analysis techniques. Supplemented by spectroscopic estimates of the star's mean atmospheric parameters, they were used as a basis for the "forward modelling" approach in asteroseismology. The latter culminates in the identification of one or more "optimal" models that can accurately reproduce the observed period spectrum. This naturally leads to an identification of the oscillations detected in terms of degree $\ell$ and radial order k, and infers the structural parameters of the target.
Results.The high S/N low- and medium resolution spectroscopy obtained led to a refinement of the atmospheric parameters for PG 0911+456, the derived values being $T_{\rm eff}$ = 31 940 $\pm$ 220 K, log g = 5.767 $\pm$ 0.029, and log He/H = -2.548 $\pm$ 0.058. From the photometry it was possible to extract 7 independent pulsation periods in the 150-200 s range with amplitudes between 0.05 and 0.8% of the star's mean brightness. There was no indication of fine frequency splitting over the ~68-day time baseline, suggesting a very slow rotation rate. An asteroseismic search of parameter space identified several models that matched the observed properties of PG 0911+456 well, one of which was isolated as the "optimal" model on the basis of spectroscopic and mode identification considerations. All the observed pulsations are identified with low-order acoustic modes with degree indices $\ell$ = 0,1,2 and 4, and match the computed periods with a dispersion of only ~0.26%, typical of the asteroseismological studies carried out to date for this type of star. The inferred structural parameters of PG 0911+456 are $T_{\rm eff}$ = 31 940 $\pm$ 220 K (from spectroscopy), log g = 5.777 $\pm$ 0.002, $M_{\ast}/M_{\odot}$ = 0.39 $\pm$ 0.01, log ${M_{\rm env}/M_{\ast}}$ = -4.69 $\pm$ 0.07, $R/R_{\odot}$ = 0.133 $\pm$ 0.001 and $L/L_{\odot}$ = 16.4 $\pm$ 0.8. We also derive the absolute magnitude MV = 4.82 $\pm$ 0.04 and a distance d = 930.3 $\pm$ 27.4 pc.

Key words: stars: individual: PG 0911+456 -- stars: interiors -- stars: horizontal-branch -- stars: oscillations

© ESO 2007

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