A search for non-pulsating, chemically normal stars in the Scuti instability strip using Kepler data

Murphy, S. J., Bedding, T. R., Niemczura, E., Kurtz, D. W. orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-1015-3268 and Smalley, B. (2015) A search for non-pulsating, chemically normal stars in the Scuti instability strip using Kepler data. Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, 447 (4). pp. 3948-3959. ISSN 0035-8711

[thumbnail of __lha-113_pers-J_000506A3_My Documents_Don_MNRAS-2015-Murphy-3948-59.pdf]

Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/mnras/stu2749


We identify stars in the δ Sct instability strip that do not pulsate in p modes at the 50-μmag limit, using Kepler data. Spectral classification and abundance analyses from high-resolution spectroscopy allow us to identify chemically peculiar stars, in which the absence of pulsations is not surprising. The remaining stars are chemically normal, yet they are not δ Sct stars. Their lack of observed p modes cannot be explained through any known mechanism. However, they are mostly distributed around the edges of the δ Sct instability strip, which allows for the possibility that they actually lie outside the strip once the uncertainties are taken into account.We investigated the possibility that the non-pulsators inside the instability strip could be unresolved binary systems, having components that both lie outside the instability strip.
If misinterpreted as single stars, we found that such binaries could generate temperature discrepancies of ∼300 K – larger than the spectroscopic uncertainties, and fully consistent with the observations. After these considerations, there remains one chemically normal nonpulsator that lies in the middle of the instability strip. This star is a challenge to pulsation theory. However, its existence as the only known star of its kind indicates that such stars are rare. We conclude that the δ Sct instability strip is pure, unless pulsation is shut down by diffusion or another mechanism, which could be interaction with a binary companion.

Repository Staff Only: item control page