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  1. Context. Before reaching their quiescent terminal white-dwarf cooling branch, some low-mass helium-core white dwarf stellar models experience a number of nuclear flashes which greatly reduce their hydrogen envelopes. Just before the occurrence of each flash, stable hydrogen burning may be able to drive global pulsations that could be relevant in shedding some light on the internal structure of these stars through asteroseismology, similarly to what occurs with other classes of pulsating white dwarfs. Aims. We present a pulsational stability analysis applied to low-mass helium-core stars on their early white-dwarf cooling branches going through CNO flashes in order to study themore »possibility that the ε mechanism is able to excite gravity-mode pulsations. We assess the ranges of unstable periods and the corresponding instability domain in the log g  −  T eff plane. Methods. We carried out a nonadiabatic pulsation analysis for low-mass helium-core white-dwarf models with stellar masses between 0.2025 and 0.3630  M ⊙ going through CNO flashes during their early cooling phases. Results. We found that the ε mechanism due to stable hydrogen burning can excite low-order ( ℓ  = 1, 2) gravity modes with periods between ∼80 and 500 s for stars with 0.2025 ≲  M ⋆ / M ⊙  ≲ 0.3630 located in an extended region of the log g  −  T eff diagram, with effective temperature and surface gravity in the ranges 15 000 ≲  T eff  ≲ 38 000 K and 5.8 ≲ log g  ≲ 7.1, respectively. For the sequences that experience multiple CNO flashes, we found that with every consecutive flash, the region of instability becomes wider and the modes are more strongly excited. The magnitudes of the rate of period change for these modes are in the range of ∼10 −10 –10 −11  [s/s]. Conclusions. Since the timescales required for these modes to reach amplitudes large enough to be observable are shorter than their corresponding evolutionary timescales, the detection of pulsations in these stars is feasible. Given the current problems in distinguishing some stars that populate the same region of the log g  −  T eff plane, the eventual detection of short-period pulsations may help in the classification of such stars. Furthermore, if a low-mass white dwarf star were found to pulsate with low-order gravity modes in this region of instability, it would confirm our result that such pulsations can be driven by the ε mechanism. In addition, confirming a rapid rate of period change in these pulsations would support the idea that these stars actually experience CNO flashes, as has been predicted by evolutionary calculations.« less
  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+3944more »(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.« less
  3. 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 starsmore »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.« less
  4. 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 themore »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 these targets was not previously identified from ground-based observations.« less