EDP Sciences
Free access
Volume 483, Number 3, June I 2008
Page(s) 875 - 885
Section Stellar structure and evolution
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:200809554
Published online 26 March 2008

A&A 483, 875-885 (2008)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:200809554

Asteroseismology in action: a test of spin-orbit synchronism in the close binary system Feige 48

V. Van Grootel1, 2, S. Charpinet1, G. Fontaine2, and P. Brassard2

1  Laboratoire d'Astrophysique de Toulouse-Tarbes, Université de Toulouse, CNRS, 14 av. E. Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
    e-mail: [valerie.vangrootel;stephane.charpinet]@ast.obs-mip.fr
2  Département de Physique, Université de Montréal, CP 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada
    e-mail: [fontaine;brassard]@astro.umontreal.ca

(Received 11 February 2008 / Accepted 18 March 2008)

Aims. In this paper, we provide a test of spin-orbit synchronism in the close binary system Feige 48. This system is made of a rapidly pulsating subdwarf B (sdB) star with an unseen companion, most likely a white dwarf. The presence of nonradial oscillations offers the opportunity to infer the inner profile and period of rotation of the primary star through asteroseismology. This constitutes the key element for testing spin-orbit synchronism in depth, since stellar internal layers are inaccessible to traditional techniques.
Methods. We carried out a new asteroseismic analysis of Feige 48 following the so-called "forward modeling" approach. This is done with our latest optimization algorithms, which have been updated to incorporate the effect of stellar rotation on pulsations, assuming various internal rotation laws. In this analysis, the simultaneous match of all the frequencies observed in Feige 48 leads objectively to the full identification of the pulsation modes through the determination of the indices k, $\ell$, m. It also leads to determining the structural and rotational parameters of Feige 48.
Results. Our optimal model, obtained with a solid-body rotation law, is characterized by a spin period of $9.028 \pm 0.480$ h. This value is remarkably similar to the system's orbital period of $9.024 \pm 0.072$ h, measured independently from radial velocity variations. We further demonstrate that the hypothesis of differential rotation of the core - including a fast rotating core - must be eliminated for Feige 48.
Conclusions. These results strongly imply that Feige 48 rotates as a solid body in a tidally locked system. This constitutes the first explicit demonstration of spin-orbit synchronism in a binary star by asteroseismic means.

Key words: stars: binaries: close -- stars: oscillations -- stars: rotation -- stars: subdwarfs -- stars: individual: Feige 48

© ESO 2008