skip to main content

Attention:

The NSF Public Access Repository (NSF-PAR) system and access will be unavailable from 11:00 PM ET on Thursday, May 23 until 2:00 AM ET on Friday, May 24 due to maintenance. We apologize for the inconvenience.


Title: Pulsating hydrogen-deficient white dwarfs and pre-white dwarfs observed with TESS: II. Discovery of two new GW Vir stars: TIC 333432673 and TIC 095332541
Context. The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) mission is revolutionizing the blossoming area of asteroseismology, particularly of pulsating white dwarfs and pre-white dwarfs, thus continuing the impulse of its predecessor, the Kepler mission. Aims. In this paper, we present the observations from the extended TESS mission in both 120 s short-cadence and 20 s ultra-short-cadence mode of two pre-white dwarf stars showing hydrogen deficiency. We identify them as two new GW Vir stars, TIC 333432673 and TIC 095332541. We apply the tools of asteroseismology with the aim of deriving their structural parameters and seismological distances. Methods. We carried out a spectroscopic analysis and a spectral fitting of TIC 333432673 and TIC 095332541. We also processed and analyzed the high-precision TESS photometric light curves of the two target stars, and derived their oscillation frequencies. We performed an asteroseismological analysis of these stars on the basis of PG 1159 evolutionary models that take into account the complete evolution of the progenitor stars. We searched for patterns of uniform period spacings in order to constrain the stellar mass of the stars. We employed the individual observed periods to search for a representative seismological model. Results. The analysis of the TESS light curves of TIC 333432673 and TIC 095332541 reveals the presence of several oscillations with periods ranging from 350 to 500 s associated to typical gravity ( g )-modes. From follow-up ground-based spectroscopy, we find that both stars have a similar effective temperature ( T eff  = 120 000 ± 10 000 K) and surface gravity (log g  = 7.5 ± 0.5), but a different He/C composition of their atmosphere. On the basis of PG 1159 evolutionary tracks, we derived a spectroscopic mass of M ⋆ = 0.58 −0.08 +0.16   M ⊙ for both stars. Our asteroseismological analysis of TIC 333432673 allowed us to find a constant period spacing compatible with a stellar mass M ⋆  ∼ 0.60 − 0.61  M ⊙ , and an asteroseismological model for this star with a stellar mass M ⋆ = 0.589 ± 0.020 M ⊙ , as well as a seismological distance of d = 459 −156 +188 pc. For this star, we find an excellent agreement between the different methods to infer the stellar mass, and also between the seismological distance and that measured with Gaia ( d Gaia = 389 −5.2 +5.6 pc). For TIC 095332541, we have found a possible period spacing that suggests a stellar mass of M ⋆  ∼ 0.55 − 0.57  M ⊙ . Unfortunately, we have not been able to find an asteroseismological model for this star. Conclusions. Using the high-quality data collected by the TESS space mission and follow-up spectroscopy, we have been able to discover and characterize two new GW Vir stars. The TESS mission is having, and will continue to have, an unprecedented impact on the area of white-dwarf asteroseismology.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1903828
NSF-PAR ID:
10388315
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Astronomy & Astrophysics
Volume:
655
ISSN:
0004-6361
Page Range / eLocation ID:
A27
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. null (Ed.)
    Context. The recent arrival of continuous photometric observations of unprecedented quality from space missions has strongly promoted the study of pulsating stars and caused great interest in the stellar astrophysics community. In the particular case of pulsating white dwarfs, the TESS mission is taking asteroseismology of these compact stars to a higher level, emulating or even surpassing the performance of its predecessor, the Kepler mission. Aims. We present a detailed asteroseismological analysis of six GW Vir stars that includes the observations collected by the TESS mission. Methods. We processed and analyzed TESS observations of RX J2117+3412 (TIC 117070953), HS 2324+3944 (TIC 352444061), NGC 6905 (TIC 402913811), NGC 1501 (TIC 084306468), NGC 2371 (TIC 446005482), and K 1−16 (TIC 233689607). We carried out a detailed asteroseismological analysis of these stars on the basis of PG 1159 evolutionary models that take into account the complete evolution of the progenitor stars. We constrained the stellar mass of these stars by comparing the observed period spacing with the average of the computed period spacings, and we employed the individual observed periods to search for a representative seismological model when possible. Results. In total, we extracted 58 periodicities from the TESS light curves of these GW Vir stars using a standard prewhitening procedure to derive the potential pulsation frequencies. All the oscillation frequencies that we found are associated with g -mode pulsations, with periods spanning from ∼817 s to ∼2682 s. We find constant period spacings for all but one star (K 1−16), which allowed us to infer their stellar masses and constrain the harmonic degree ℓ of the modes. Based on rotational frequency splittings, we derive the rotation period of RX J2117+3412, obtaining a value in agreement with previous determinations. We performed period-to-period fit analyses on five of the six analyzed stars. For four stars (RX J2117+3412, HS 2324+3944, NGC 1501, and NGC 2371), we were able to find an asteroseismological model with masses that agree with the stellar mass values inferred from the period spacings and are generally compatible with the spectroscopic masses. Obtaining seismological models allowed us to estimate the seismological distance and compare it with the precise astrometric distance measured with Gaia . Finally, we find that the period spectrum of K 1−16 exhibits dramatic changes in frequency and amplitude that together with the scarcity of modes prevented us from meaningful seismological modeling of this star. Conclusions. The high-quality data collected by the TESS space mission, considered simultaneously with ground-based observations, provide very valuable input to the asteroseismology of GW Vir stars, similar to the case of other classes of pulsating white dwarf stars. The TESS mission, in conjunction with future space missions and upcoming surveys, will make impressive progress in white dwarf asteroseismology. 
    more » « less
  2. Context. The collection of high-quality photometric data by space telescopes, such as the completed Kepler mission and the ongoing TESS program, is revolutionizing the area of white-dwarf asteroseismology. Among the different kinds of pulsating white dwarfs, there are those that have He-rich atmospheres, and they are called DBVs or V777 Her variable stars. The archetype of these pulsating white dwarfs, GD 358, is the focus of the present paper. Aims. We report a thorough asteroseismological analysis of the DBV star GD 358 (TIC 219074038) based on new high-precision photometric data gathered by the TESS space mission combined with data taken from the Earth. Methods. We reduced TESS observations of the DBV star GD 358 and performed a detailed asteroseismological analysis using fully evolutionary DB white-dwarf models computed accounting for the complete prior evolution of their progenitors. We assessed the mass of this star by comparing the measured mean period separation with the theoretical averaged period spacings of the models, and we used the observed individual periods to look for a seismological stellar model. We detected potential frequency multiplets for GD 358, which we used to identify the harmonic degree ( ℓ ) of the pulsation modes and rotation period. Results. In total, we detected 26 periodicities from the TESS light curve of this DBV star using standard pre-whitening. The oscillation frequencies are associated with nonradial g (gravity)-mode pulsations with periods from ∼422 s to ∼1087 s. Moreover, we detected eight combination frequencies between ∼543 s and ∼295 s. We combined these data with a huge amount of observations from the ground. We found a constant period spacing of 39.25 ± 0.17 s, which helped us to infer its mass ( M ⋆  = 0.588 ± 0.024  M ⊙ ) and constrain the harmonic degree ℓ of the modes. We carried out a period-fit analysis on GD 358, and we were successful in finding an asteroseismological model with a stellar mass ( M ⋆ = 0.584 −0.019 +0.025   M ⊙ ), compatible with the stellar mass derived from the period spacing, and in line with the spectroscopic mass ( M ⋆  = 0.560 ± 0.028  M ⊙ ). In agreement with previous works, we found that the frequency splittings vary according to the radial order of the modes, suggesting differential rotation. Obtaining a seismological model made it possible to estimate the seismological distance ( d seis  = 42.85 ± 0.73 pc) of GD 358, which is in very good accordance with the precise astrometric distance measured by Gaia EDR3 ( π  = 23.244 ± 0.024,  d Gaia  = 43.02 ± 0.04 pc). Conclusions. The high-quality data measured with the TESS space telescope, used in combination with data taken from ground-based observatories, provides invaluable information for conducting asteroseismological studies of DBV stars, analogously to what happens with other types of pulsating white-dwarf stars. The currently operating TESS mission, together with the advent of other similar space missions and new stellar surveys, will give an unprecedented boost to white dwarf asteroseismology. 
    more » « less
  3. Context. The TESS space mission has recently demonstrated its great potential to discover new pulsating white dwarf and pre-white dwarf stars, and to detect periodicities with high precision in already known white-dwarf pulsators. Aims. We report the discovery of two new pulsating He-rich atmosphere white dwarfs (DBVs) and present a detailed asteroseismological analysis of three already known DBV stars employing observations collected by the TESS mission along with ground-based data. Methods. We processed and analyzed TESS observations of the three already known DBV stars PG 1351+489 (TIC 471015205), EC 20058−5234 (TIC 101622737), and EC 04207−4748 (TIC 153708460), and the two new DBV pulsators WDJ152738.4−50207.4 (TIC 150808542) and WD 1708−871 (TIC 451533898), whose variability is reported for the first time in this paper. We also carried out a detailed asteroseismological analysis using fully evolutionary DB white-dwarf models built considering the complete evolution of the progenitor stars. We constrained the stellar mass of three of these target stars by means of the observed period spacing, and derived a representative asteroseismological model using the individual periods, when possible. Results. We extracted frequencies from the TESS light curves of these DBV stars using a standard pre-whitening procedure to derive the potential pulsation frequencies. All the oscillation frequencies that we found are associated with g -mode pulsations with periods spanning from ∼190 s to ∼936 s. We find hints of rotation from frequency triplets in some of the targets, including the two new DBVs. For three targets, we find constant period spacings, which allowed us to infer their stellar masses and constrain the harmonic degree ℓ of the modes. We also performed period-to-period fit analyses and found an asteroseismological model for three targets, with stellar masses generally compatible with the spectroscopic masses. Obtaining seismological models allowed us to estimate the seismological distances and compare them with the precise astrometric distances measured with Gaia . We find a good agreement between the seismic and the astrometric distances for three stars (PG 1351+489, EC 20058-5234, and WD 1708-871); although, for the other two stars (EC 04207-4748 and WD J152738.4-50207), the discrepancies are substantial. Conclusions. The high-quality data from the TESS mission continue to provide important clues which can be used to help determine the internal structure of pulsating pre-white dwarf and white dwarf stars through the tools of asteroseismology. 
    more » « less
  4. Context. Pulsation frequencies reveal the interior structures of white dwarf stars, shedding light on the properties of these compact objects that represent the final evolutionary stage of most stars. Two-minute cadence photometry from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) records pulsation signatures from bright white dwarfs over the entire sky. Aims. As part of a series of first-light papers from TESS Asteroseismic Science Consortium Working Group 8, we aim to demonstrate the sensitivity of TESS data, by measuring pulsations of helium-atmosphere white dwarfs in the DBV instability strip, and what asteroseismic analysis of these measurements can reveal about their stellar structures. We present a case study of the pulsating DBV WD 0158−160 that was observed as TIC 257459955 with the two-minute cadence for 20.3 days in TESS Sector 3. Methods. We measured the frequencies of variability of TIC 257459955 with an iterative periodogram and prewhitening procedure. The measured frequencies were compared to calculations from two sets of white dwarf models to constrain the stellar parameters: the fully evolutionary models from LPCODE and the structural models from WDEC . Results. We detected and measured the frequencies of nine pulsation modes and eleven combination frequencies of WD 0158−160 to ∼0.01  μ Hz precision. Most, if not all, of the observed pulsations belong to an incomplete sequence of dipole (ℓ = 1) modes with a mean period spacing of 38.1 ± 1.0 s. The global best-fit seismic models from both LPCODE and WDEC have effective temperatures that are ≳3000 K hotter than archival spectroscopic values of 24 100–25 500 K; however, cooler secondary solutions are found that are consistent with both the spectroscopic effective temperature and distance constraints from Gaia astrometry. Conclusions. Our results demonstrate the value of the TESS data for DBV white dwarf asteroseismology. The extent of the short-cadence photometry enables reliably accurate and extremely precise pulsation frequency measurements. Similar subsets of both the LPCODE and WDEC models show good agreement with these measurements, supporting that the asteroseismic interpretation of DBV observations from TESS is not dominated by the set of models used. However, given the sensitivity of the observed set of pulsation modes to the stellar structure, external constraints from spectroscopy and/or astrometry are needed to identify the best seismic solutions. 
    more » « less
  5. Context. The TESS satellite was launched in 2018 to perform high-precision photometry from space over almost the whole sky in a search for exoplanets orbiting bright stars. This instrument has opened new opportunities to study variable hot subdwarfs, white dwarfs, and related compact objects. Targets of interest include white dwarf and hot subdwarf pulsators, both carrying high potential for asteroseismology. Aims. We present the discovery and detailed asteroseismic analysis of a new g -mode hot B subdwarf (sdB) pulsator, EC 21494−7018 (TIC 278659026), monitored in TESS first sector using 120-s cadence. Methods. The TESS light curve was analyzed with standard prewhitening techniques, followed by forward modeling using our latest generation of sdB models developed for asteroseismic investigations. By simultaneously best-matching all the observed frequencies with those computed from models, we identified the pulsation modes detected and, more importantly, we determined the global parameters and structural configuration of the star. Results. The light curve analysis reveals that EC 21494−7018 is a sdB pulsator counting up to 20 frequencies associated with independent g -modes. The seismic analysis singles out an optimal model solution in full agreement with independent measurements provided by spectroscopy (atmospheric parameters derived from model atmospheres) and astrometry (distance evaluated from Gaia DR2 trigonometric parallax). Several key parameters of the star are derived. Its mass (0.391 ± 0.009  M ⊙ ) is significantly lower than the typical mass of sdB stars and suggests that its progenitor has not undergone the He-core flash; therefore this progenitor could originate from a massive (≳2  M ⊙ ) red giant, which is an alternative channel for the formation of sdBs. Other derived parameters include the H-rich envelope mass (0.0037 ± 0.0010  M ⊙ ), radius (0.1694 ± 0.0081  R ⊙ ), and luminosity (8.2 ± 1.1  L ⊙ ). The optimal model fit has a double-layered He+H composition profile, which we interpret as an incomplete but ongoing process of gravitational settling of helium at the bottom of a thick H-rich envelope. Moreover, the derived properties of the core indicate that EC 21494−7018 has burnt ∼43% (in mass) of its central helium and possesses a relatively large mixed core ( M core  = 0.198 ± 0.010  M ⊙ ), in line with trends already uncovered from other g-mode sdB pulsators analyzed with asteroseismology. Finally, we obtain for the first time an estimate of the amount of oxygen (in mass; X (O) core = 0.16 +0.13 −0.05 ) produced at this stage of evolution by an helium-burning core. This result, along with the core-size estimate, is an interesting constraint that may help to narrow down the still uncertain 12 C( α ,  γ ) 16 O nuclear reaction rate. 
    more » « less