Does Kepler unveil the mystery of the Blazhko effect? First detection of period doubling in Kepler Blazhko RR Lyrae stars

Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society (Impact Factor: 5.52). 07/2010; DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2010.17386.x
Source: arXiv

ABSTRACT The first detection of the period doubling phenomenon is reported in the Kepler RR Lyrae stars RR Lyr, V808 Cyg and V355 Lyr. Interestingly, all these pulsating stars show Blazhko modulation. The period doubling manifests itself as alternating maxima and minima of the pulsational cycles in the light curve, as well as through the appearance of half-integer frequencies located halfway between the main pulsation period and its harmonics in the frequency spectrum. The effect was found to be stronger during certain phases of the modulation cycle. We were able to reproduce the period doubling bifurcation in our nonlinear RR Lyrae models computed by the Florida-Budapest hydrocode. This enabled us to trace the origin of this instability in RR Lyrae stars to a resonance, namely a 9:2 resonance between the fundamental mode and a high-order (9th) radial overtone showing strange-mode characteristics. We discuss the connection of this new type of variation to the mysterious Blazhko effect and argue that it may give us fresh insights to solve this century-old enigma. Comment: 10 pages, 12 figures and 1 table, accepted for publication in MNRAS

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We present a detailed nonlinear dynamical investigation of the Blazhko modulation of the Kepler RR Lyrae star V783 Cyg (KIC 5559631). We used different techniques to produce modulation curves, including the determination of amplitude maxima, the O-C diagram and the analytical function method. We were able to fit the modulation curves with chaotic signals with the global flow reconstruction method. However, when we investigated the effects of instrumental and data processing artefacts, we found that the chaotic nature of the modulation can not be proved because of the technical problems of data stitching, detrending and sparse sampling. Moreover, we found that a considerable part of the detected cycle-to-cycle variation of the modulation may originate from these effects. According to our results, even the four-year-long, unprecedented Kepler space photometry of V783 Cyg is too short for a reliable nonlinear dynamical analysis aiming at the detection of chaos from the Blazhko modulation. We estimate that two other stars could be suitable for similar analysis in the Kepler sample and in the future TESS and PLATO may provide additional candidates.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 09/2014; 445(3). DOI:10.1093/mnras/stu1943 · 5.23 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Learned et. al. proposed that a sufficiently advanced extra-terrestrial civilization may tickle Cepheid and RR Lyrae variable stars with a neutrino beam at the right time, thus causing them to trigger early and jogging the otherwise very regular phase of their expansion and contraction. This would turn these stars into beacons to transmit information throughout the galaxy and beyond. The idea is to search for signs of phase modulation (in the regime of short pulse duration) and patterns, which could be indicative of intentional, omnidirectional signaling. We have performed such a search among variable stars using photometric data from the Kepler space telescope. In the RRc Lyrae star KIC 5520878, we have found two such regimes of long and short pulse durations. The sequence of period lengths, expressed as time series data, is strongly auto correlated, with correlation coefficients of prime numbers being significantly higher ($p=99.8$\%). Our analysis of this candidate star shows that the prime number oddity originates from two simultaneous pulsation periods and is likely of natural origin. Simple physical models elucidate the frequency content and asymmetries of the KIC 5520878 light curve. Despite this SETI null result, we encourage testing other archival and future time-series photometry for signs of modulated stars. This can be done as a by-product to the standard analysis, and even partly automated.
    The Astrophysical Journal 09/2014; 798(1). DOI:10.1088/0004-637X/798/1/42 · 6.28 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We search for signs of period doubling in CoRoT RR Lyrae stars. The occurrence of this dynamical effect in modulated RR Lyrae stars might help us to gain more information about the mysterious Blazhko effect. The temporal variability of the additional frequencies in representatives of all subtypes of RR Lyrae stars is also investigated. We pre-process CoRoT light curves by applying trend and jump correction and outlier removal. Standard Fourier technique is used to analyze the frequency content of our targets and follow the time dependent phenomena. The most comprehensive collection of CoRoT RR Lyrae stars, including new discoveries is presented and analyzed. We found alternating maxima and in some cases half-integer frequencies in four CoRoT Blazhko RR Lyrae stars, as clear signs of the presence of period doubling. This reinforces that period doubling is an important ingredient to understand the Blazhko effect - a premise we derived previously from the Kepler RR Lyrae sample. As expected, period doubling is detectable only for short time intervals in most modulated RRab stars. Our results show that the temporal variability of the additional frequencies in all RR Lyrae sub-types is ubiquitous. The ephemeral nature and the highly variable amplitude of these variations suggest a complex underlying dynamics of and an intricate interplay between radial and possibly nonradial modes in RR Lyrae stars. The omnipresence of additional modes in all types of RR Lyrae - except in non-modulated RRab stars - implies that asteroseismology of these objects should be feasible in the near future (Abridged).
    Astronomy and Astrophysics 08/2014; 570. DOI:10.1051/0004-6361/201424522 · 4.48 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

Available from
May 22, 2014