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Asteroseismic analysis of the roAp star α Circini: 84 days of high-precision photometry from the WIRE satellite

H. Bruntt, D. W. Kurtz, M. S. Cunha, I. M. Brandão, G. Handler, T. R. Bedding, T. Medupe, D. L. Buzasi, D. Mashigo, I. Zhang, F. van Wyk

We present a detailed study of the pulsation of alpha Circini, the brightest of the rapidly oscillating Ap stars. We have obtained 84 days of high-precision photometry from four runs with the star tracker on the WIRE satellite. Simultaneously, we collected ground-based Johnson B observations on 16 nights at the South African Astronomical Observatory. In addition to the dominant oscillation mode at 2442μHz, we detect two new modes that lie symmetrically around the principal mode to form a triplet. The average separation between these modes is Δf = 30.173 ± 0.004μHz and they are nearly equidistant with the separations differing by only 3.9 pHz. We compare the observed frequencies with theoretical pulsation models based on constraints from the recently determined interferometric radius and effective temperature, and the recently updated Hipparcos parallax. We show that the theoretical large separations for models of delta Cir with global parameters within the 1 delta observational uncertainties vary between 59 and 65μHz. This is consistent with the large separation being twice the observed value of delta f, indicating that the three main modes are of alternating even and odd degrees. The frequency differences in the triplet are significantly smaller than those predicted from our models, for all possible combinations of mode degrees, and may indicate that the effects of magnetic perturbations need to be taken into account. The WIRE light curves are modulated by a double wave with a period of 4.479 d, and a peak-to-peak amplitude of 4mmag. This variation is due to the rotation of the star and is a new discovery, made possible by the high precision of the WIRE photometry. The rotational modulation confirms an earlier indirect determination of the rotation period. The main pulsation mode at 2442μHz has two sidelobes split by exactly the rotation frequency. From the amplitude ratio of the sidelobes to the central peak we show that the principalmode is consistent with an oblique axisymmetric dipole mode (l = 1,m = 0), or with a magnetically distorted mode of higher degree with a dominant dipolar component.

stars: fundamental parameters – stars: individual: α Cir – stars: oscillations – stars: rotation – stars: variables: other.

Based on observations at the South African Astronomical Observatory.

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Volume 396, Page 1189
2009 June

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Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências e Tecnologia da Universidade de Coimbra
Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia COMPETE 2020 PORTUGAL 2020 União Europeia