Pulsational instabilities driven by the ∈ mechanism in hot pre-horizontal branch stars
I. The hot-flasher scenario
Instituto de Astrofísica de La Plata, CONICET–UNLP, Paseo del Bosque s/n, 1900 La Plata, Argentina
2 Grupo de Evolución Estelar y Pulsaciones, Facultad de Ciencias Astronómicas y Geofísicas, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Paseo del Bosque s/n, 1900 La Plata, Argentina
Accepted: 19 January 2018
Context. The ∈ mechanism is a self-excitation mechanism of stellar pulsations that acts in regions inside the star where nuclear burning takes place. It has been shown that the ∈ mechanism can excite pulsations in models of hot pre-horizontal branch stars before they settle into the stable helium core-burning phase. Moreover, it has been shown that this mechanism could explain the shortest periods of LS IV-14°116, a mild He-sdBV star.
Aims. We aim to study the ∈ mechanism in stellar models appropriate for hot pre-horizontal branch stars to predict their pulsational properties and the instability domain in the log g − log Teff plane.
Methods. We performed detailed computations of non-adiabatic non-radial pulsations on stellar models during the helium subflashes just before the helium-core burning phase. Computations were carried out for different values of initial helium composition, metallicity, and envelope mass at the moment of helium flash.
Results. We find an instability domain of long-period gravity modes due to the ∈ mechanism in the log g − log Teff plane at roughly 22 000 K ≲ Teff ≲ 50 000 K and 4.67 ≲ log g ≲ 6.15. Consequently, we find instabilities due to the ∈ mechanism on pre-extreme horizontal branch stellar models (Teff ≳ 22 000 K), but not on pre-blue horizontal branch stellar models (Teff ≲ 21 000 K). The periods of excited modes range between ~200 and ~2000 s. Comparison with the three known pulsating He-rich subdwarfs shows that ∈ mechanism can excite gravity modes in stars with similar surface properties (He abundances, log g, log Teff), but in our models it is only able to excite modes in the range of the shortest observed periods.
Conclusions. We predict a new instability strip for hot-subdwarf stars of which LS IV-14°116 could be the first inhabitant. Based on simple estimates we expect 1 to 10 stars in the current samples of hot-subdwarf stars to be pulsating by the ∈ mechanism. Our results could constitute a theoretical basis for future searches of pulsators in the Galactic field.
Key words: stars: horizontal-branch / stars: oscillations / stars: low-mass / stars: interiors / – asteroseismology
© ESO 2018