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  1. Abstract

    Some physical processes that occur during a star's main-sequence evolution also affect its post-main-sequence evolution. It is well known that stars with masses above approximately 1.1Mhave well-mixed convective cores on the main sequence; however, the structure of the star in the neighborhood of the convective core regions is currently underconstrained. We use asteroseismology to study the properties of the stellar core, in particular convective boundary mixing through convective overshoot, in such intermediate-mass stars. These core regions are poorly constrained by the acoustic (p) mode oscillations observed for cool main-sequence stars. Consequently, we seek fossil signatures of main-sequence core properties during the subgiant and early first-ascent red giant phases of evolution. During these stages of stellar evolution, modes of mixed character that sample the deep interior can be observed. These modes sample the parts of the stars that are affected by the main-sequence structure of these regions. We model the global and near-core properties of 62 subgiant and early first-ascent red giant branch stars observed by theKepler, K2, and TESS space missions. We find that the effective overshoot parameter,αov,eff, increases fromM= 1.0MtoM= 1.2Mbefore flattening out, although we note that the relationship betweenαov,effand mass will depend on the incorporated modeling choices of internal physics and nuclear reaction network. We also situate these results within existing studies of main-sequence convective core boundaries.

     
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  2. Context: Modeling of the stars in the red clump (RC), that is, core helium-burning stars that have gone through a He flash, is challenging because of the uncertainties associated with the physical processes in their core and during the helium flash. By probing the internal stellar structure, asteroseismology allows us to constrain the core properties of RC stars and eventually, to improve our understanding of this evolutionary phase. Aims: We aim to quantify the impact on the seismic properties of the RC stars of the two main core modeling uncertainties: core boundary mixing, and helium-burning nuclear reaction rates. Methods: Using the MESA stellar evolution code, we computed models with different core boundary mixing as well as different 3α and 12C(alpha, gamma)16O nuclear reaction rates. We investigated the impact of these parameters on the period spacing ΔΠ, which is a probe of the region around the core. Results: We find that different core boundary mixing schemes yield significantly different period spacings, with differences of 30 s between the maximum ΔΠ value computed with semiconvection and maximal overshoot. We show that an increased rate of 12C(alpha, gamma)16O lengthens the core helium-burning phase, which extends the range of ΔΠ covered by the models during their evolution. This results in a difference of 10 s between the models computed with a nominal rate and a rate multiplied by 2, which exceeds the observational uncertainties. The effect of changing the 3α reaction rate is comparatively small. Conclusions. The core boundary mixing is the main source of uncertainty in the seismic modeling of RC stars. Moreover, the effect of the 12C(alpha, gamma)16O is non-negligible, even though it is difficult to distinguish from the effect of the mixing. This degeneracy could be seen more frequently in the future in the new seismic data from the PLATO mission and through theoretical constraints from numerical simulations. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 1, 2025
  3. Abstract

    The theoretical oscillation frequencies of even the best asteroseismic models of solar-like oscillators show significant differences from observed oscillation frequencies. Structure inversions seek to use these frequency differences to infer the underlying differences in stellar structure. While used extensively to study the Sun, structure inversion results for other stars have so far been limited. Applying sound speed inversions to more stars allows us to probe stellar theory over a larger range of conditions, as well as look for overall patterns that may hint at deficits in our current understanding. To that end, we present structure inversion results for 12 main-sequence solar-type stars with masses between 1 and 1.15M. Our inversions are able to infer differences in the isothermal sound speed in the innermost 30% by radius of our target stars. In half of our target stars, the structure of our best-fit model fully agrees with the observations. In the remainder, the inversions reveal significant differences between the sound speed profile of the star and that of the model. We find five stars where the sound speed in the core of our stellar models is too low and one star showing the opposite behavior. For the two stars in which our inversions reveal the most significant differences, we examine whether changing the microphysics of our models improves them and find that changes to nuclear reaction rates or core opacities can reduce, but do not fully resolve, the differences.

     
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  4. Abstract

    Asteroseismology has been used extensively in recent years to study the interior structure and physical processes of main-sequence stars. We consider prospects for using pressure modes (p-modes) near the frequency of maximum oscillation power to probe the structure of the near-core layers of main-sequence stars with convective cores by constructing stellar model tracks. Within our mass range of interest, the inner turning point of p-modes as determined by the Jeffreys–Wentzel–Kramers–Brillouin (JWKB) approximation evolves in two distinct phases during the main sequence, implying a sudden loss of near-core sensitivity during the discontinuous transition between the two phases. However, we also employ non-JWKB asymptotic analysis to derive a contrasting set of expressions for the effects that these structural properties will have on the mode frequencies, which do not encode any such transition. We show analytically that a sufficiently near-core perturbation to the stellar structure results in nonoscillatory, degree-dependent perturbations to the star’s oscillation mode frequencies, contrasting with the case of an outer glitch. We also demonstrate numerically that these near-core acoustic glitches exhibit strong angular degree dependence, even at low degree, agreeing with the non-JWKB analysis, rather than the degree-independent oscillations that emerge from JWKB analyses. These properties have important implications for using p-modes to study near-core mixing processes for intermediate-mass stars on the main sequence, as well as for the interpretation of near-center acoustic glitches in other astrophysical configurations, such as red giants.

     
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  5. Abstract

    The consistently low activity level of the old solar analog 51 Peg not only facilitated the discovery of the first hot Jupiter, but also led to the suggestion that the star could be experiencing a magnetic grand minimum. However, the 50 yr time series showing minimal chromospheric variability could also be associated with the onset of weakened magnetic braking (WMB), where sufficiently slow rotation disrupts cycling activity and the production of large-scale magnetic fields by the stellar dynamo, thereby shrinking the Alfvén radius and inhibiting the efficient loss of angular momentum to magnetized stellar winds. In this Letter, we evaluate the magnetic evolutionary state of 51 Peg by estimating its wind braking torque. We use new spectropolarimetric measurements from the Large Binocular Telescope to reconstruct the large-scale magnetic morphology, we reanalyze archival X-ray measurements to estimate the mass-loss rate, and we detect solar-like oscillations in photometry from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, yielding precise stellar properties from asteroseismology. Our estimate of the wind braking torque for 51 Peg clearly places it in the WMB regime, driven by changes in the mass-loss rate and the magnetic field strength and morphology that substantially exceed theoretical expectations. Although our revised stellar properties have minimal consequences for the characterization of the exoplanet, they have interesting implications for the current space weather environment of the system.

     
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  6. Abstract

    While solar-like oscillations in red giants have been observed at massive scales by the Kepler mission, few features of these oscillation mode frequencies, other than their global properties, have been exploited for stellar characterization. The signatures of acoustic glitches in mode frequencies have been used for studying main-sequence stars, but the validity of applying such techniques to evolved red giants, particularly pertaining to the inclusion of nonradial modes, has been less well examined. Making use of new theoretical developments, we characterize glitches using theπmodes associated with red giant stellar models, and use our procedure to examine for the first time how the properties of the Heiiacoustic glitch—specifically its amplitude and associated acoustic depth—vary over the course of evolution up the red giant branch, and with respect to other fundamental stellar properties. We find that the acoustic depths of these glitches, in conjunction with other spectroscopic information, discriminate between red giants in the first-ascent and core-helium-burning phases. We critically reexamine previous attempts to constrain acoustic glitches from nonradial (in particular dipole) modes in red giants. Finally, we apply our fitting procedure to Kepler data, to evaluate its robustness to noise and other observational systematics.

     
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  7. Abstract

    The bright starλSer hosts a hot Neptune with a minimum mass of 13.6Mand a 15.5 day orbit. It also appears to be a solar analog, with a mean rotation period of 25.8 days and surface differential rotation very similar to the Sun. We aim to characterize the fundamental properties of this system and constrain the evolutionary pathway that led to its present configuration. We detect solar-like oscillations in time series photometry from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite, and we derive precise asteroseismic properties from detailed modeling. We obtain new spectropolarimetric data, and we use them to reconstruct the large-scale magnetic field morphology. We reanalyze the complete time series of chromospheric activity measurements from the Mount Wilson Observatory, and we present new X-ray and ultraviolet observations from the Chandra and Hubble space telescopes. Finally, we use the updated observational constraints to assess the rotational history of the star and estimate the wind braking torque. We conclude that the remaining uncertainty on the stellar age currently prevents an unambiguous interpretation of the properties ofλSer, and that the rate of angular momentum loss appears to be higher than for other stars with a similar Rossby number. Future asteroseismic observations may help to improve the precision of the stellar age.

     
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  8. null (Ed.)
    During the first half of main-sequence lifetimes, the evolution of rotation and magnetic activity in solar-type stars appears to be strongly coupled. Recent observations suggest that rotation rates evolve much more slowly beyond middle-age, while stellar activity continues to decline. We aim to characterize this mid-life transition by combining archival stellar activity data from the Mount Wilson Observatory with asteroseismology from the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). For two stars on opposite sides of the transition (88 Leo and ρ CrB), we independently assess the mean activity levels and rotation periods previously reported in the literature. For the less active star (ρ CrB), we detect solar-like oscillations from TESS photometry, and we obtain precise stellar properties from asteroseismic modeling. We derive updated X-ray luminosities for both stars to estimate their mass-loss rates, and we use previously published constraints on magnetic morphology to model the evolutionary change in magnetic braking torque. We then attempt to match the observations with rotational evolution models, assuming either standard spin-down or weakened magnetic braking. We conclude that the asteroseismic age of ρ CrB is consistent with the expected evolution of its mean activity level, and that weakened braking models can more readily explain its relatively fast rotation rate. Future spectropolarimetric observations across a range of spectral types promise to further characterize the shift in magnetic morphology that apparently drives this mid-life transition in solar-type stars. 
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  9. Abstract Asteroseismology of bright stars has become increasingly important as a method to determine the fundamental properties (in particular ages) of stars. The Kepler Space Telescope initiated a revolution by detecting oscillations in more than 500 main-sequence and subgiant stars. However, most Kepler stars are faint and therefore have limited constraints from independent methods such as long-baseline interferometry. Here we present the discovery of solar-like oscillations in α Men A, a naked-eye ( V = 5.1) G7 dwarf in TESS’s southern continuous viewing zone. Using a combination of astrometry, spectroscopy, and asteroseismology, we precisely characterize the solar analog α Men A ( T eff = 5569 ± 62 K, R ⋆ = 0.960 ± 0.016 R ⊙ , M ⋆ = 0.964 ± 0.045 M ⊙ ). To characterize the fully convective M dwarf companion, we derive empirical relations to estimate mass, radius, and temperature given the absolute Gaia magnitude and metallicity, yielding M ⋆ = 0.169 ± 0.006 M ⊙ , R ⋆ = 0.19 ± 0.01 R ⊙ , and T eff = 3054 ± 44 K. Our asteroseismic age of 6.2 ± 1.4 (stat) ± 0.6 (sys) Gyr for the primary places α Men B within a small population of M dwarfs with precisely measured ages. We combined multiple ground-based spectroscopy surveys to reveal an activity cycle of P = 13.1 ± 1.1 yr for α Men A, a period similar to that observed in the Sun. We used different gyrochronology models with the asteroseismic age to estimate a rotation period of ∼30 days for the primary. Alpha Men A is now the closest ( d = 10 pc) solar analog with a precise asteroseismic age from space-based photometry, making it a prime target for next-generation direct-imaging missions searching for true Earth analogs. 
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  10. null (Ed.)