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  1. 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
  2. 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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  3. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT Long, high-quality time-series data provided by previous space missions such as CoRoT and Kepler have made it possible to derive the evolutionary state of red giant stars, i.e. whether the stars are hydrogen-shell burning around an inert helium core or helium-core burning, from their individual oscillation modes. We utilize data from the Kepler mission to develop a tool to classify the evolutionary state for the large number of stars being observed in the current era of K2, TESS, and for the future PLATO mission. These missions provide new challenges for evolutionary state classification given the large number of stars being observed and the shorter observing duration of the data. We propose a new method, Clumpiness, based upon a supervised classification scheme that uses ‘summary statistics’ of the time series, combined with distance information from the Gaia mission to predict the evolutionary state. Applying this to red giants in the APOKASC catalogue, we obtain a classification accuracy of $\sim 91{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ for the full 4 yr of Kepler data, for those stars that are either only hydrogen-shell burning or also helium-core burning. We also applied the method to shorter Kepler data sets, mimicking CoRoT, K2, and TESS achieving an accuracy $\gt 91{{\ \rm per\ cent}}$ even for the 27 d time series. This work paves the way towards fast, reliable classification of vast amounts of relatively short-time-span data with a few, well-engineered features. 
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  4. null (Ed.)
    ABSTRACT We report the discovery of a warm sub-Saturn, TOI-257b (HD 19916b), based on data from NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS). The transit signal was detected by TESS and confirmed to be of planetary origin based on radial velocity observations. An analysis of the TESS photometry, the Minerva-Australis, FEROS, and HARPS radial velocities, and the asteroseismic data of the stellar oscillations reveals that TOI-257b has a mass of MP = 0.138 ± 0.023 $\rm {M_J}$ (43.9 ± 7.3 $\, M_{\rm \oplus}$), a radius of RP = 0.639 ± 0.013 $\rm {R_J}$ (7.16 ± 0.15 $\, \mathrm{ R}_{\rm \oplus}$), bulk density of $0.65^{+0.12}_{-0.11}$ (cgs), and period $18.38818^{+0.00085}_{-0.00084}$ $\rm {days}$. TOI-257b orbits a bright (V = 7.612 mag) somewhat evolved late F-type star with M* = 1.390 ± 0.046 $\rm {M_{sun}}$, R* = 1.888 ± 0.033 $\rm {R_{sun}}$, Teff = 6075 ± 90 $\rm {K}$, and vsin i = 11.3 ± 0.5 km s−1. Additionally, we find hints for a second non-transiting sub-Saturn mass planet on a ∼71 day orbit using the radial velocity data. This system joins the ranks of a small number of exoplanet host stars (∼100) that have been characterized with asteroseismology. Warm sub-Saturns are rare in the known sample of exoplanets, and thus the discovery of TOI-257b is important in the context of future work studying the formation and migration history of similar planetary systems. 
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