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Amplitude and frequency modulations of oscillation modes in hot B subdwarf and white dwarf stars from Kepler photometry

Abstract : Nonlinear mode interactions, inducing amplitude and frequency modulations, are difficult to observe from ground-based telescopes as these typical timescales of the modulations are of the order of weeks, months, or even years. The launch of space telescopes such as Kepler (operated by NASA) has tremendously changed the situation by providing new data for this research field. In this thesis, we analyze the Kepler photometric data observed for 24 compact pulsators, including 18 hot B subdwarf (sdB) stars and six white dwarf stars. We find that it is a common phenomenon that oscillation modes in these pulsating stars show amplitude and/or frequency variations. We focus in particular on two stars, KIC 08626021, a DB white dwarf, and KIC 10139564, a short period sdB star. KIC 08626021 and KIC 10139564 have been monitored by Kepler in short-cadence mode for nearly two years and more than three years without interruption, respectively. By analyzing in depth these high-quality photometric data, we find that the modes within triplets induced by rotation clearly reveal different types of behaviors : their frequency and amplitude may exhibit either periodic or irregular modulations, or remain constant. These various behaviors can be linked to those predicted within the amplitude equation formalism in the case of the nonlinear resonant mode coupling mechanism, particularly for the modulation timescales. Furthermore, we find that the triplet resonance modes can also interact with outside modes through other types of resonances such as the three-mode resonance 0 1+2, which is not considered within the current nonlinear theoretical frameworks. These findings constitute the first clear evidence of nonlinear resonant mode couplings occurring in compact pulsators. This should resonate as a warning to projects aiming at measuring the evolutionary change rate of pulsation periods in compact stars in general. Nonlinear modulations of the frequencies can potentially jeopardize any attempt to measure reliably such rates, unless they can be corrected beforehand. The observed modulations characterized in this thesis provide new insights to "nonlinear asteroseismology" and call for new methods to process the signals of variable modes from the observed light curves. We foresee that increasing attention will focus on these nonlinear phenomena in various types of pulsating stars observed from space in the near future, thus reviving interest in the nonlinear oscillation theory in general.
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Submitted on : Friday, January 13, 2017 - 3:06:12 PM
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  • HAL Id : tel-01434986, version 1

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Weikai Zong. Amplitude and frequency modulations of oscillation modes in hot B subdwarf and white dwarf stars from Kepler photometry. Astrophysics [astro-ph]. Université Toulouse 3 Paul Sabatier, 2016. English. ⟨tel-01434986⟩

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