Probing tiny convective cores with the acoustic modes of lowest degree
Centro de Astrofísica e Faculdade de Ciências, Universidade do Porto, Rua das Estrelas, 4150-762 Porto, Portugal
Received: 10 June 2010
Accepted: 25 November 2010
Solar-like oscillations are expected to be excited in stars of up to about 1.6 solar masses. Most of these stars will have convective cores during their main-sequence evolution. At the edges of these convective cores, there is a rapid variation in the sound speed, which influences the frequencies of acoustic oscillations. In this paper we build on earlier work to investigate the impact that these rapid structural variations have on different p-mode frequency combinations, involving modes of low degree. In particular, we adopt a different expression to describe the sound speed variation at the edge of the core, which we show more closely reproduces the profiles derived from the equilibrium models. We analyse the impact of this change on the frequency perturbation derived for radial modes. Moreover, we consider three different small frequency separations involving modes of degree l = 0,1,2,3, l = 0,1, and l = 0,2, and show that they are all significantly affected by the sharp sound speed variation at the edge of the core. In particular, we confirm that the frequency derivative of the diagnostic tool that combines modes of degree up to 3 can potentially be used to infer the amplitude of the relative sound speed variation directly at the edge of the core. We show that at high frequencies the other two diagnostic tools can be up to a few μHz smaller than what would be expected in the absence of the rapid structural variation at the edge of the core. Also, we show that the absolute values of their frequency derivatives are significantly increased, in a manner that strongly depends on stellar age.
Key words: asteroseismology / stars: interiors / stars: evolution / stars: solar-type / stars: oscillations
© ESO, 2011