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Paper: The Curious Case of the North Star: the Continuing Tension Between Evolution Models and Measurements of Polaris
Volume: 529, RR Lyrae/Cepheid 2019: Frontiers of Classical Pulsators
Page: 72
Authors: Neilson, H. R.; Blinn, H.
Abstract: Polaris is the nearest Cepheid to us and as such holds a special place in our understanding of Cepheids in general and the Leavitt Law. In the past couple of decades, we have learned many new things about the star as a Cepheid and as the primary component of a multiple star system. As such, we are more precisely measuring the mass, radius and evolution of Polaris. However, as we learn more, it is becoming clear that we understand less. There is evidence that Polaris is much less massive than stellar evolution models suggest and that Polaris is a much younger star than its main sequence companion. In this work, we review some of the recent measurements and their connections with past studies. We then present new stellar evolution models and populations synthesis calculations to compare with the new mass measurements by Evans et al. (2018). We find that the mass discrepancy for Polaris is about 50%. We also find that there is a likely age discrepancy between Polaris and its companion, but that there is also a very small probability that the discrepancy is not real.
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