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Asteroseismic modelling of solar-type stars: a deeper look at the treatment of initial helium abundance

B. Nsamba, N. A. M. Moedas, T. L. Campante, M. S. Cunha, J.-C. SuŠrez, M. J. P. F. G. Monteiro, J. M. Fernandes, C. Jiang, B. Akinsanmi

Abstract
Detailed understanding of stellar physics is essential towards a robust determination of stellar properties (e.g. radius, mass, and age). Among the vital input physics used in the modelling of solar-type stars which remain poorly constrained, is the initial helium abundance. To this end, when constructing stellar model grids, the initial helium abundance is estimated either (i) by using the semi-empirical helium-to-heavy element enrichment ratio, (ΔY/ΔZ), anchored to the standard big bang nucleosynthesis value, or (ii) by setting the initial helium abundance as a free variable. Adopting 35 low-mass, solar-type stars with multiyear Kepler photometry from the asteroseismic ‘LEGACY’ sample, we explore the systematic uncertainties on the inferred stellar parameters (i.e. radius, mass, and age) arising from the treatment of the initial helium abundance in stellar model grids. The stellar masses and radii derived from grids with free initial helium abundance are lower compared to those from grids based on a fixed ΔY/ΔZ ratio. We find the systematic uncertainties on mean density, radius, mass, and age arising from grids which employ a fixed value of ΔY/ΔZ and those with free initial helium abundance to be ∼ 0.9 per cent, ∼ 2 per cent, ∼ 5 per cent, and ∼ 29 per cent, respectively. We report that the systematic uncertainties on the inferred masses and radii arising from the treatment of initial helium abundance in stellar grids lie within the expected accuracy limits of ESA’s PLATO, although this is not the case for the age.

Keywords
asteroseismology; stars: evolution; stars: fundamental parameters; stars: oscillations; stars: statistics; Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume 500, Issue 1, Page 54
2021 January

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Instituto de Astrof√≠sica e Ci√™ncias do Espa√ßo Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia