Volume 595, November 2016
|Number of page(s)||4|
|Published online||17 November 2016|
Asteroseismic test of rotational mixing in low-mass white dwarfs
1 Center for Gravitation, Cosmology, and Astrophysics, Department of PhysicsUniversity of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, PO Box 413, Milwaukee, WI 53201, USA
2 Département de Physique, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succursale Centre-Ville, Montréal, QC H3C 3J7, Canada
3 Homer L. Dodge Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Oklahoma, 440 W. Brooks St., Norman, OK 73019, USA
4 Argelander-Institut für Astronomie, Universität Bonn, Auf dem Hügel 71, 53121 Bonn, Germany
5 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
Received: 10 October 2016
Accepted: 21 October 2016
We exploit the recent discovery of pulsations in mixed-atmosphere (He/H), extremely low-mass white dwarf precursors (ELM proto-WDs) to test the proposition that rotational mixing is a fundamental process in the formation and evolution of low-mass helium core white dwarfs. Rotational mixing has been shown to be a mechanism able to compete efficiently against gravitational settling, thus accounting naturally for the presence of He, as well as traces of metals such as Mg and Ca, typically found in the atmospheres of ELM proto-WDs. Here we investigate whether rotational mixing can maintain a sufficient amount of He in the deeper driving region of the star, such that it can fuel, through Heii-Heiii ionization, the observed pulsations in this type of stars. Using state-of-the-art evolutionary models computed with MESA, we show that rotational mixing can indeed explain qualitatively the very existence and general properties of the known pulsating, mixed-atmosphere ELM proto-WDs. Moreover, such objects are very likely to pulsate again during their final WD cooling phase.
Key words: asteroseismology / binaries: close / white dwarfs / stars: evolution
© ESO, 2016
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