A survey for pulsations in A-type stars using SuperWASP.

Holdsworth, Daniel Luke orcid iconORCID: 0000-0003-2002-896X (2015) A survey for pulsations in A-type stars using SuperWASP. Doctoral thesis, Keele University.

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Official URL: http://eprints.keele.ac.uk/1557


A survey of A-type stars is conducted with the SuperWASP archive in the search for pulsationally variable stars. Over 1.5 million stars are selected based on their (J − H) colour. Periodograms are calculated for light curves which have been extracted from the archive and cleaned of spurious points. Peaks which have amplitudes greater than 0.5 millimagnitude are identified in the periodograms. In total, 202 656 stars are identified to show variability in the range 5 − 300 d−1.

Spectroscopic follow-up was obtained for 38 stars which showed high-frequency pulsations between 60 and 235 d−1, and a further object with variability at 636 d−1. In this sample, 13 were identified to be normal A-type δ Sct stars, 14 to be pulsating metallic-lined Am stars, 11 to be rapidly oscillating Ap (roAp) stars, and one to be a subdwarf B variable star. The spectra were used not only to classify the stars, but to determine an effective temperature through Balmer line fitting.

Hybrid stars have been identified in this study, which show pulsations in both the high- and low-overtone domains; an observation not predicted by theory. These stars are prime targets to perform follow-up observations, as a confirmed detection of this phenomenon will have significant impact on the theory of pulsations in A-type stars.

The detected number of roAp stars has expanded the known number of this pulsator class by 22 per cent. Within these results both the hottest and coolest roAp star have been identified. Further to this, one object, KIC 7582608, was observed by the Kepler telescope for 4 yr, enabling a detailed frequency analysis. This analysis has identified significant frequency variations in this star, leading to the hypothesis that this is the first close binary star of its type.

The observational results presented in this thesis are able to present new challenges to the theory of pulsations in A-type stars, with potentially having the effect of further delaying the full understanding of ‘so simple a thing as a star’.

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