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Observational Asteroseismology of slowly pulsating B stars

by P De Cat
Communications in Astroseismology ()
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We review the status of observational asteroseismology of slowly pulsating B (SPB) stars. Their asteroseismic potential is extremely good because the excited high-order g-modes probe the deep interior of these hot stars. To enable asteroseismic modelling, a sufficient amount of well-identified modes is mandatory. To reach this goal with ground-based observations, dedicated long-term and preferably multi-site campaigns are needed to increase the number and the accuracy of detectable frequencies. The first results for SPB stars based on observations obtained with the asteroseismic space-mission MOST are very promising, guaranteeing the success of missions like CoRoT, launched in December 2006. These results also indicate that high-precision observations are needed to detect and to study low-amplitude SPB stars. Although SPB pulsations are not restricted to slow rotators, there is some observational evidence for an amplitude drop towards high values of the projected rotational velocity. For several SPB stars, close frequency multiplets are observed. In some cases, the observed frequencies might be components of a rotationally split mode, but in other cases an alternative explanation is needed. Magnetic fields of a few hundred Gauss, that recently have been detected for fourteen confirmed members, can cause such frequency shifts. SPB stars can no longer be considered as non-magnetic stars and magnetic fields should be included in the theoretical models. We argue that mode identification of g modes still remains one of the main obstacles, although progress has been made in this field recently.

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