Amplitude and frequency variations of oscillation modes in the pulsating DB white dwarf star KIC~08626021: The likely signature of nonlinear resonant mode coupling [SSA]

Aims. We use the Kepler data accumulated on the pulsating DB white dwarf KIC 08626021 to explore in detail the stability of its oscillation modes, searching in particular for evidences of nonlinear behaviors. Methods. We analyse nearly two years of uninterrupted short cadence data, concentrating in particular on identified triplets due to stellar rotation that show intriguing behaviors during the course of the observations. Results. We find clear signatures of nonlinear effects attributed to resonant mode coupling mechanisms. We find that a triplet at 4310 {\mu}Hz and this doublet at 3681 {\mu}Hz (most likely the two visible components of an incomplete triplet) have clear periodic frequency and amplitude modulations typical of the so-called intermediate regime of the resonance, with time scales consistent with theoretical expectations. Another triplet at 5073 {\mu}Hz is likely in a narrow transitory regime in which the amplitudes are modulated while the frequencies are locked. Using nonadiabatic pulsation calculations based on a model representative of KIC 08626021 to evaluate the linear growth rates of the modes in the triplets, we also provide quantitative information that could be useful for future comparisons with numerical solutions of the amplitude equations. Conclusions. The identified modulations are the first clear-cut signatures of nonlinear resonant couplings occurring in white dwarf stars. These should resonate as a warning to projects aiming at measuring the evolutionary cooling rate of KIC 08626021, and of white dwarf stars in general. Nonlinear modulations of the frequencies can potentially jeopardize any attempt to measure reliably such rates, unless they could be corrected beforehand. These results should motivate further theoretical work to develop nonlinear stellar pulsation theory.

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W. Zong, S. Charpinet, G. Vauclair, et. al.
Mon, 26 Oct 15

Comments: 14 pages, 13 Figures, 2 Tables, accepted to A&A