Volume 585, January 2016
|Number of page(s)
|Stellar structure and evolution
|09 December 2015
Amplitude and frequency variations of oscillation modes in the pulsating DB white dwarf star KIC 08626021
The likely signature of nonlinear resonant mode coupling
1 Université de Toulouse, UPS-OMP, IRAP, 31400 Toulouse, France
2 CNRS, IRAP, 14 avenue Édouard Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
3 Département de Physique, Université de Montréal, CP 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada
4 Institut d’Astrophysique et de Géophysique, Quartier Agora, Allée du 6 Août 19c, 4000 Liège, Belgium
Received: 12 April 2015
Accepted: 22 October 2015
Context. The signatures of nonlinear effects affecting stellar oscillations are difficult to observe from ground observatories because of the lack of continuous high-precision photometric data spanning extended enough time baselines. The unprecedented photometric quality and coverage provided by the Kepler spacecraft offers new opportunities to search for these phenomena.
Aims. We use the Kepler data accumulated on the pulsating DB white dwarf KIC 08626021 to explore in detail the stability of its oscillation modes, searching, in particular, for evidence of nonlinear behaviors.
Methods. We analyze nearly two years of uninterrupted short-cadence data, concentrating on identified triplets that are caused by stellar rotation and that show intriguing behaviors during the course of the observations.
Results. We find clear signatures of nonlinear effects that could be attributed to resonant mode coupling mechanisms. These couplings occur between the components of the triplets and can induce different types of behaviors. We first notice that a structure at 3681 μHz, identified as a triplet in previous published studies, is in fact forming a doublet, with the third component being an independent mode. We find that a triplet at 4310 μHz and this doublet at 3681 μHz (most likely the two visible components of an incomplete triplet) have clear periodic frequency and amplitude modulations, which are typical of the so-called intermediate regime of the resonance, with timescales consistent with theoretical expectations. Another triplet at 5073 μHz is likely in a narrow transitory regime in which the amplitudes are modulated while the frequencies are locked. Using nonadiabatic pulsation calculations, based on a model representative of KIC 08626021 to evaluate the linear growth rates of the modes in the triplets, we also provide quantitative information that could be useful for future comparisons with numerical solutions of the amplitude equations.
Conclusions. The observed modulations are the clearest hints of nonlinear resonant couplings occurring in white dwarf stars identified so far. These should resonate as a warning to projects that aim at measuring the evolutionary cooling rate of KIC 08626021, and of white dwarf stars in general. Nonlinear modulations of the frequencies can potentially jeopardize any attempt to measure such rates reliably, unless they can be corrected beforehand. These results should motivate further theoretical work to develop the nonlinear stellar pulsation theory.
Key words: white dwarfs / stars: individual: KIC 08626021 / techniques: photometric
© ESO, 2015
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