Back to Volume
Paper: Contrasting Accreting White Dwarf Pulsators with the ZZ Ceti Stars
Volume: 509, 20th European Workshop on White Dwarfs (EuroWD16)
Page: 341
Authors: Mukadam, A. S.; Szkody, P.; Gänsicke, B. T.; Pala, A.
Abstract: Understanding the similarities and differences between the accreting white dwarf pulsators and their non-interacting counterparts, the ZZ Ceti stars, will eventually help us deduce how accretion affects pulsations. ZZ Ceti stars pulsate in a narrow instability strip in the range 10800–12300 K due to H ionization in their pure H envelopes; their pulsation characteristics depend on their temperature and stellar mass. Models of accreting white dwarfs are found to be pulsationally unstable due to the H/HeI ionization zone, and even show a second instability strip around 15000 K due to HeII ionization. Both these strips are expected to merge for a He abundance higher than 0.48 to form a broad instability strip, which is consistent with the empirical determination of 10500–16000 K. Accreting pulsators undergo outbursts, during which the white dwarf is heated to temperatures well beyond the instability strip and is observed to cease pulsations. The white dwarf then cools to quiescence in a few years as its outer layers cool more than a million times faster than the evolutionary rate. This provides us with an exceptional opportunity to track the evolution of pulsations from the blue edge to quiescence in a few years, while ZZ Ceti stars evolve on Myr timescales. Some accreting pulsators have also been observed to cease pulsations without any apparent evidence of an outburst. This is a distinct difference between this class of pulsators and the non-interacting ZZ Ceti stars. While the ZZ Ceti instability strip is well sampled, the strip for the accreting white dwarfs is sparsely sampled and we hereby add two new potential discoveries to improve the statistics.
Back to Volume