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See detailSlowing down atomic diffusion in subdwarf B stars: mass loss or turbulence?
Hu, Haili; Tout, C. A.; Glebbeek, E. et al

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (2011), 418

Subdwarf B (sdB) stars show chemical peculiarities that cannot be explained by diffusion theory alone. Both mass loss and turbulence have been invoked to slow down atomic diffusion in order to match ... [more ▼]

Subdwarf B (sdB) stars show chemical peculiarities that cannot be explained by diffusion theory alone. Both mass loss and turbulence have been invoked to slow down atomic diffusion in order to match observed abundances. The fact that some sdB stars show pulsations give upper limits on the amount of mass loss and turbulent mixing allowed. Consequently, non-adiabatic asteroseismology has the potential to decide which process is responsible for the abundance anomalies. We compute for the first time seismic properties of sdB models with atomic diffusion included consistently during the stellar evolution. The diffusion equations with radiative forces are solved for H, He, C, N, O, Ne, Mg, Fe and Ni. We examine the effects of various mass-loss rates and mixed surface masses on the abundances and mode stability. It is shown that the mass-loss rates needed to simulate the observed He abundances (?) are not consistent with observed pulsations. We find that for pulsations to be driven the rates should be ?. On the other hand, weak turbulent mixing of the outer 10[SUP]-6[/SUP] M[SUB]&sun;[/SUB] can explain the He abundance anomalies while still allowing pulsations to be driven. The origin of the turbulence remains unknown but the presence of pulsations gives tight constraints on the underlying turbulence model. [less ▲]

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See detailGravitational settling in pulsating subdwarf B stars and their progenitors
Hu, Haili; Glebbeek, E.; Thoul, Anne ULg et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2010), 511

Context. Diffusion of atoms can be important during quiescent phases of stellar evolution. Particularly in the very thin inert envelopes of subdwarf B stars, diffusive movements will considerably change ... [more ▼]

Context. Diffusion of atoms can be important during quiescent phases of stellar evolution. Particularly in the very thin inert envelopes of subdwarf B stars, diffusive movements will considerably change the envelope structure and the surface abundances on a short timescale. Also, the subdwarfs will inherit the effects of diffusion in their direct progenitors, namely giants near the tip of the red giant branch. This will influence the global evolution and the pulsational properties of subdwarf B stars. <BR /> Aims: We investigate the impact of gravitational settling, thermal diffusion and concentration diffusion on the evolution and pulsations of subdwarf B stars. Although radiative levitation is not explicitly calculated, we evaluate its effect by approximating the resulting iron accumulation in the driving region. This allows us to study the excitation of the pulsation modes, albeit in a parametric fashion. Our diffusive stellar models are compared with models evolved without diffusion. <BR /> Methods: We use a detailed stellar evolution code to solve simultaneously the equations of stellar structure and evolution, including the composition changes due to diffusion. The diffusion calculations are performed for a multicomponent fluid using diffusion coefficients derived from a screened Coulomb potential. We constructed subdwarf B models with a mass of 0.465 M[SUB]ȯ[/SUB] from a 1 M[SUB]ȯ[/SUB] and 3 M[SUB]ȯ[/SUB] zero-age main sequence progenitor. The low mass star ignited helium in an energetic flash, while the intermediate mass star started helium fusion gently. For each progenitor type we computed series with and without atomic diffusion. <BR /> Results: Atomic diffusion in red giants causes the helium core mass at the onset of helium ignition to be larger. We find an increase of 0.0015 M[SUB]ȯ[/SUB] for the 1 M[SUB]ȯ[/SUB] model and 0.0036 M[SUB]ȯ[/SUB] for the 3 M[SUB]ȯ[/SUB] model. The effects on the red giant surface abundances are small after the first dredge up. The evolutionary tracks of the diffusive subdwarf B models are shifted to lower surface gravities and effective temperatures due to outward diffusion of hydrogen. This affects both the frequencies of the excited modes and the overall frequency spectrum. Especially the structure and pulsations of the post-non-degenerate sdB star are drastically altered, proving that atomic diffusion cannot be ignored in these stars. Sinking of metals could to some extent increase the gravities and temperatures due to the associated decrease in the stellar opacity. However, this effect should be limited as it is counteracted by radiative levitation. [less ▲]

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See detailImpact of helium diffusion and helium-flash-induced carbon production on gravity-mode pulsations in subdwarf B stars
Hu, Haili; Nelemans, G.; Aerts, C. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2009), 508

Context: Realistic stellar models are essential to the forward modelling approach in asteroseismology. For practicality however, certain model assumptions are also required. For example, in the case of ... [more ▼]

Context: Realistic stellar models are essential to the forward modelling approach in asteroseismology. For practicality however, certain model assumptions are also required. For example, in the case of subdwarf B stars, one usually starts with zero-age horizontal branch structures without following the progenitor evolution. <BR /> Aims: We analyse the effects of common assumptions in subdwarf B models on the g-mode pulsational properties. We investigate if and how the pulsation periods are affected by the H-profile in the core-envelope transition zone. Furthermore, the effects of C-production and convective mixing during the core helium flash are evaluated. Finally, we reanalyse the effects of stellar opacities on the mode excitation in subdwarf B stars.<BR /> Methods: We computed detailed stellar evolutionary models of subdwarf B stars, and their non-adiabatic pulsational properties. Atomic diffusion of H and He is included consistently during the evolution calculations. The number fractions of Fe and Ni are gradually increased by up to a factor of 10 around log T = 5.3. This is necessary for mode excitation and to approximate the resulting effects of radiative levitation. We performed a pulsational stability analysis on a grid of subdwarf B models constructed with OPAL and OP opacities.<BR /> Results: We find that helium settling causes a shift in the theoretical blue edge of the g-mode instability domain to higher effective temperatures. This results in a closer match to the observed instability strip of long-period sdB pulsators, particularly for l â ¤ 3 modes. We show further that the g-mode spectrum is extremely sensitive to the H-profile in the core-envelope transition zone. If atomic diffusion is efficient, details of the initial shape of the profile become less important in the course of evolution. Diffusion broadens the chemical gradients, and results in less effective mode trapping and different pulsation periods. Furthermore, we report on the possible consequences of the He-flash for the g-modes. The outer edge of a flash-induced convective region introduces an additional chemical transition in the stellar models, and the corresponding spike in the Brünt-Väisälä frequency produces a complicated mode trapping signature in the period spacings. <BR /> [less ▲]

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See detailA seismic approach to testing different formation channels of subdwarf B stars
Hu, Haili; Dupret, Marc-Antoine ULg; Aerts, C. et al

in Astronomy and Astrophysics (2008), 490

Context: There are many unknowns in the formation of subdwarf B stars. Different formation channels are considered to be possible and to lead to a variety of helium-burning subdwarfs. All seismic models ... [more ▼]

Context: There are many unknowns in the formation of subdwarf B stars. Different formation channels are considered to be possible and to lead to a variety of helium-burning subdwarfs. All seismic models to date, however, assume that a subdwarf B star is a post-helium-flash-core surrounded by a thin inert layer of hydrogen. Aims: We examine an alternative formation channel, in which the subdwarf B star originates from a massive (>~2 M[SUB]o[/SUB]) red giant with a non-degenerate helium-core. Although these subdwarfs may evolve through the same region of the log g-T_eff diagram as the canonical post-flash subdwarfs, their interior structure is rather different. We examine how this difference affects their pulsation modes and whether it can be observed. Methods: Using detailed stellar evolution calculations we construct subdwarf B models from both formation channels. The iron accumulation in the driving region due to diffusion, which causes the excitation of the modes, is approximated by a Gaussian function. The pulsation modes and frequencies are calculated with a non-adiabatic pulsation code. Results: A detailed comparison of two subdwarf B models from different channels, but with the same log g and T_eff, shows that their mode excitation is different. The excited frequencies are lower for the post-flash than for the post-non-degenerate subdwarf B star. This is mainly due to the differing chemical composition of the stellar envelope. A more general comparison between two grids of models shows that the excited frequencies of most post-non-degenerate subdwarfs cannot be well-matched with the frequencies of post-flash subdwarfs. In the rare event that an acceptable seismic match is found, additional information, such as mode identification and log g and T_eff determinations, allows us to distinguish between the two formation channels. [less ▲]

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