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Title: On Trapped Modes in Variable White Dwarfs as Probes of the 12 C(α, γ) 16 O Reaction Rate
Abstract We seek signatures of the current experimental 12 C α , γ 16 O reaction rate probability distribution function in the pulsation periods of carbon–oxygen white dwarf (WD) models. We find that adiabatic g-modes trapped by the interior carbon-rich layer offer potentially useful signatures of this reaction rate probability distribution function. Probing the carbon-rich region is relevant because it forms during the evolution of low-mass stars under radiative helium-burning conditions, mitigating the impact of convective mixing processes. We make direct quantitative connections between the pulsation periods of the identified trapped g-modes in variable WD models and the current experimental 12 C α , γ 16 O reaction rate probability distribution function. We find an average spread in relative period shifts of Δ P / P ≃ ±2% for the identified trapped g-modes over the ±3 σ uncertainty in the 12 C α , γ 16 O reaction rate probability distribution function—across the effective temperature range of observed DAV and DBV WDs and for different WD masses, helium shell masses, and hydrogen shell masses. The g-mode pulsation periods of observed WDs are typically given to six to seven significant figures of precision. This suggests that an astrophysical constraint on the more » 12 C α , γ 16 O reaction rate could, in principle, be extractable from the period spectrum of observed variable WDs. « less
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The Astrophysical Journal
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National Science Foundation
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