Close frequency pairs in Delta Scuti stars
Institut für Astronomie der Universität Wien, Türkenschanzstr. 17, 1180 Wien, Austria
Corresponding author: M. Breger, firstname.lastname@example.org
Accepted: 22 January 2002
The majority of the well-studied δ Scuti stars shows frequency pairs in the power spectra with frequency separations less than 0.06 cd-1 (Hz) as well as amplitude variability. We examine the interpretation in terms of separate excited stellar pulsation modes, single modes with variable amplitudes, and observational problems. The variable-phase technique, which examines the phase jumps near the times of minimum amplitude of an assumed single frequency, is applied to the extensive data of the star BI CMi, which shows some of the most extreme behavior. The following results are found for the 5 features in the power spectrum which could be explained as single modes with variable amplitudes or as double modes: for three features it can be shown that these are indeed pairs of separate pulsation modes beating with each other: at times of minimum amplitude the phase jumps are observed and both the observed amplitude and phase variations can be predicted correctly by assuming two separate modes of nearly equal frequencies. Artifacts caused by observational error, insufficient frequency resolution or variable amplitudes can be ruled out. A fourth pair has a probable origin in two excited modes, while a 5th case is inconclusive due to long time scales of variability and small amplitudes. The existence of close frequency needs to be taken into account in planning the lengths of earth-based as well as space campaigns so that sufficient frequency resolution is obtained. Possible reasons for the existence of close frequencies in δ Scuti stars are considered. They include the dense frequency spacing caused by the presence of mixed modes, rotational splitting as well as near-coincidence of the frequencies of modes with different values (the so-called Small Spacing).
Key words: stars: variables: δ Sct / stars: oscillations / stars: individual: BI CMi
© ESO, 2002