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  1. Abstract AQ Col (EC 05217-3914) is one of the first detected pulsating subdwarf B (sdB) stars and has been considered to be a single star. Photometric monitoring of AQ Col reveals a pulsation timing variation with a period of 486 days, interpreted as time delay due to reflex motion in a wide binary formed with an unseen companion with expected mass larger than 1.05 M ⊙ . The optical spectra and color–magnitude diagram of the system suggested that the companion is not a main-sequence star but a white dwarf or neutron star. The pulsation timing variation also shows that the system has an eccentricity of 0.424, which is much larger than any known sdB long period binary system. That might be due to the existence of another short period companion to the sdB star. Two optical spectra obtained on 1996 December 5 show a radial velocity change of 49.1 km s −1 in 46.1 minutes, which suggests the hot subdwarf in the wide binary is itself a close binary formed with another unseen white dwarf or neutron star companion; if further observations show this interpretation to be correct, AQ Col is an interesting triple system worthy of further study.
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available February 1, 2023
  2. 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 thesemore »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.« less
  3. Context. We present our findings on 18 previously known ZZ Ceti stars observed by the TESS space telescope in 120 s cadence mode during the survey observation of the southern ecliptic hemisphere. Aims. We focus on the frequency analysis of the space-based observations, comparing the results with findings of previous ground-based measurements. The frequencies detected by the TESS observations can serve as inputs for future asteroseismic analyses. Methods. We performed standard pre-whitening of the data sets to derive the possible pulsation frequencies of the different targets. In some cases, we fit Lorentzians to the frequency groups that emerged as the result of short-term amplitude or phase variations that occurred during the TESS observations. Results. We detected more than 40 pulsation frequencies in seven ZZ Ceti stars observed in the 120 s cadence by TESS, with precision better than 0.1  μ Hz. We found that HE 0532−5605 may be a new outbursting ZZ Ceti. Ten targets do not show any significant pulsation frequencies in their Fourier transforms, due to a combination of their intrinsic faintness and/or crowding on the large TESS pixels. We also detected possible amplitude or phase variations during the TESS observations in some cases. Such behaviour in thesemore »targets was not previously identified from ground-based observations.« less
  4. ABSTRACT We report on the detection of pulsations of three pulsating subdwarf B stars observed by the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) satellite and our results of mode identification in these stars based on an asymptotic period relation. SB 459 (TIC 067584818), SB 815 (TIC 169285097), and PG 0342 + 026 (TIC 457168745) have been monitored during single sectors resulting in 27 d coverage. These data sets allowed for detecting, in each star, a few tens of frequencies that we interpreted as stellar oscillations. We found no multiplets, though we partially constrained mode geometry by means of period spacing, which recently became a key tool in analyses of pulsating subdwarf B stars. Standard routine that we have used allowed us to select candidates for trapped modes that surely bear signatures of non-uniform chemical profile inside the stars. We have also done statistical analysis using collected spectroscopic and asteroseismic data of previously known subdwarf B stars along with our three stars. Making use of high precision trigonometric parallaxes from the Gaia mission and spectral energy distributions we converted atmospheric parameters to stellar ones. Radii, masses, and luminosities are close to their canonical values for extreme horizontal branch stars. In particular, the stellar masses are close to the canonical onemore »of 0.47 M⊙ for all three stars but uncertainties on the mass are large. The results of the analyses presented here will provide important constrains for asteroseismic modelling.« 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 evaluatedmore »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.« less