D. B. Guenther

St. Mary's University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada

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Publications (213)782.15 Total impact

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We report the first planet discovery from the two-wheeled Kepler (K2) mission: HIP 116454 b. The host star HIP 116454 is a bright (V = 10.1, K = 8.0) K1-dwarf with high proper motion, and a parallax-based distance of 55.2 +/- 5.4 pc. Based on high-resolution optical spectroscopy, we find that the host star is metal-poor with [Fe/H] = -.16 +/- .18, and has a radius R = 0.716 +/- .0024 R_sun and mass M = .775 +/- .027 Msun. The star was observed by the Kepler spacecraft during its Two-Wheeled Concept Engineering Test in February 2014. During the 9 days of observations, K2 observed a single transit event. Using a new K2 photometric analysis technique we are able to correct small telescope drifts and recover the observed transit at high confidence, corresponding to a planetary radius of Rp = 2.53 +/- 0.18 Rearth. Radial velocity observations with the HARPS-N spectrograph reveal a 11.82 +/- 1.33 Mearth planet in a 9.1 day orbit, consistent with the transit depth, duration, and ephemeris. Follow-up photometric measurements from the MOST satellite confirm the transit observed in the K2 photometry and provide a refined ephemeris, making HIP 116454 b amenable for future follow-up observations of this latest addition to the growing population of transiting super-Earths around nearby, bright stars.
    12/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: The quantity and quality of satellite photometric data strings is revealing details in Cepheid variation at very low levels. Specifically, we observed a Cepheid pulsating in the fundamental mode and one pulsating in the first overtone with the Canadian MOST satellite. The 3.7-d period fundamental mode pulsator (RT Aur) has a light curve that repeats precisely, and can be modeled by a Fourier series very accurately. The overtone pulsator (SZ Tau, 3.1 d period) on the other hand shows light curve variation from cycle to cycle which we characterize by the variations in the Fourier parameters. We present arguments that we are seeing instability in the pulsation cycle of the overtone pulsator, and that this is also a characteristic of the O-C curves of overtone pulsators. On the other hand, deviations from cycle to cycle as a function of pulsation phase follow a similar pattern in both stars, increasing after minimum radius. In summary, pulsation in the overtone pulsator is less stable than that of the fundamental mode pulsator at both long and short timescales.
    11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Asteroseismology has been proven to be a successful tool to unravel details of the internal structure for different types of stars in various stages of their main sequence and post-main sequence evolution. Recently, we found a relation between the detected pulsation properties in a sample of 34 pre-main sequence (pre-MS) delta Scuti stars and the relative phase in their pre-MS evolution. With this we are able to demonstrate that asteroseismology is similarly powerful if applied to stars in the earliest stages of evolution before the onset of hydrogen core burning.
    11/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Recently the number of main-sequence and subgiant stars exhibiting solar-like oscillations that are resolved into individual mode frequencies has increased dramatically. While only a few such data sets were available for detailed modeling just a decade ago, the Kepler mission has produced suitable observations for hundreds of new targets. This rapid expansion in observational capacity has been accompanied by a shift in analysis and modeling strategies to yield uniform sets of derived stellar properties more quickly and easily. We use previously published asteroseismic and spectroscopic data sets to provide a uniform analysis of 42 solar-type Kepler targets from the Asteroseismic Modeling Portal (AMP). We find that fitting the individual frequencies typically doubles the precision of the asteroseismic radius, mass and age compared to grid-based modeling of the global oscillation properties, and improves the precision of the radius and mass by about a factor of three over empirical scaling relations. We use the stellar radii and masses to test an empirical scaling relation for the frequency of maximum oscillation power, we derive new age-rotation-activity relations from the updated age estimates, we compare the bulk compositions to the expectations of Galactic chemical enrichment, and we find qualitative agreement between the derived mixing-length values and a recent calibration from three-dimensional (3D) convection simulations.
    The Astrophysical Journal Supplement Series 10/2014; 214:27. · 16.24 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We present an analysis of the 2011 photometric observations of TW Hya by the MOST satellite; this is the fourth continuous series of this type. The large-scale light variations are dominated by a strong, quasi-periodic 4.18 d oscillation with superimposed, apparently chaotic flaring activity; the former is most likely produced by stellar rotation with one large hot spot created by a stable accretion funnel in the stable regime of accretion while the latter may be produced by small hot spots, created at moderate latitudes by unstable accretion tongues. A new, previously unnoticed feature is a series of semi-periodic, well defined brightness dips of unknown nature of which 19 were observed during 43 days of our nearly-continuous observations. Re-analysis of the 2009 MOST light curve revealed the presence of 3 similar dips. On the basis of recent theoretical results, we tentatively conclude that the dips may represent occultations of the small hot spots created by unstable accretion tongues by hypothetical optically thick clumps.
    09/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We demonstrate that a seismic analysis of stars in their earliest evolutionary phases is a powerful method to identify young stars and distinguish their evolutionary states. The early star that is born from the gravitational collapse of a molecular cloud reaches at some point sufficient temperature, mass and luminosity to be detected. Accretion stops and the pre-main sequence star that emerges is nearly fully convective and chemically homogeneous. It will continue to contract gravitationally until the density and temperature in the core are high enough to start nuclear burning of hydrogen. We show that there is a relationship for a sample of young stars between detected pulsation properties and their evolutionary status, illustrating the potential of asteroseismology for the early evolutionary phases.
    Science (New York, N.Y.). 07/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Context: The central star of the HR 8799 system is a gamma Doradus-type pulsator. The system harbours four planetary-mass companions detected by direct imaging, and is a good solar system analogue. The masses of the companions are not known accurately, because the estimation depends strongly on the age of the system, which is also not known with sufficient accuracy. Asteroseismic studies of the star might help to better constrain the age of HR 8799. We organized an extensive photometric and multi-site spectroscopic observing campaign for studying the pulsations of the central star. Aims: The aim of the present study is to investigate the pulsation properties of HR 8799 in detail via the ultra-precise 47-d-long nearly continuous photometry obtained with the MOST space telescope, and to find as many independent pulsation modes as possible, which is the prerequisite of an asteroseismic age determination. Methods: We carried out Fourier analysis of the wide-band photometric time series. Results: We find that resonance and sudden amplitude changes characterize the pulsation of HR 8799. The dominant frequency is always at f1 = 1.978 c/d. Many multiples of one ninth of the dominant frequency appear in the Fourier spectrum of the MOST data: n/9 f1, where n={1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 17, 18}. Our analysis also reveals that many of these peaks show strong amplitude decrease and phase variations even on the 47-d time-scale. The dependencies between the pulsation frequencies of HR 8799 make the planned subsequent asteroseismic analysis rather difficult. We point out some resemblance between the light curve of HR 8799 and the modulated pulsation light curves of Blazhko RR Lyrae stars.
    07/2014;
  • D. B. Guenther, P. Demarque, M. Gruberbauer
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    ABSTRACT: We compare evolved stellar models, which match Procyon's mass and position in the HR diagram, to current ground-based asteroseismic observations. Diffusion of helium and metals along with two conventional core overshoot descriptions and the Kuhfuss nonlocal theory of convection are considered. We establish that one of the two published asteroseismic data reductions for Procyon, which mainly differ in their identification of even versus odd l values, is a significantly more probable and self-consistent match to our models than the other. The most probable models according to our Bayesian analysis have evolved to just short of turnoff, still retaining a hydrogen convective core. Our most probable models include Y and Z diffusion and have conventional core overshoot between 0.9 and 1.5 pressure scale heights, which increases the outer radius of the convective core by between 36% and 43%, respectively. We discuss the significance of this comparatively higher than expected core overshoot amount in terms of internal mixing during evolution. The parameters of our most probable models are similar regardless of whether adiabatic or nonadiabatic model p-mode frequencies are compared to the observations, although, the Bayesian probabilities are greater when the nonadiabatic model frequencies are used. All the most probable models (with or without core overshoot, adiabatic or nonadiabatic model frequencies, diffusion or no diffusion, including priors for the observed HRD location and mass or not) have masses that are within 1σ of the observed mass 1.497 ± 0.037 M ☉.
    The Astrophysical Journal 05/2014; 787(2):164. · 6.73 Impact Factor
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    D. B. Guenther, P. Demarque, M Gruberbauer
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    ABSTRACT: We compare evolved stellar models, which match Procyons mass and position in the HR diagram, to current ground-based asteroseismic observations. Diffusion of helium and metals along with two conventional core overshoot descriptions and the Kuhfuss nonlocal theory of convection are considered. We establish that one of the two published asteroseismic data reductions for Procyon, which mainly differ in their identification of even versus odd l-values, is a significantly more probable and self-consistent match to our models than the other. The most probable models according to our Bayesian analysis have evolved to just short of turnoff, still retaining a hydrogen convective core. Our most probable models include Y and Z diffusion and have conventional core overshoot between 0.9 and 1.5 pressure scale heights, which increases the outer radius of the convective core by between 22% to 28%, respectively. We discuss the significance of this comparatively higher than expected core overshoot amount in terms of internal mixing during evolution. The parameters of our most probable models are similar regardless of whether adiabatic or nonadiabatic model p-mode frequencies are compared to the observations, although, the Bayesian probabilities are greater when the nonadiabatic model frequencies are used. All the most probable models (with or without core overshoot, adiabatic or nonadiabatic model frequencies, diffusion or no diffusion, including priors for the observed HRD location and mass or not) have masses that are within one sigma of the observed mass 1.497+/-0.037 Msun.
    04/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: We have used the MOST (Microvariability and Oscillations of STars) microsatellite to obtain four weeks of contiguous high-precision broadband visual photometry of the O7.5III(n)((f)) star $\xi$ Persei in November 2011. This star is well known from previous work to show prominent DACs (Discrete Absorption Components) on time-scales of about $2$ d from UV spectroscopy and NRP (Non Radial Pulsation) with one $(l =3)$ p-mode oscillation with a period of $3.5$ h from optical spectroscopy. Our MOST-orbit ($101.4$ min) binned photometry fails to reveal any periodic light variations above the $0.1$ mmag $3$-sigma noise level for periods of hours, while several prominent Fourier peaks emerge at the $1$ mmag level in the two-day period range. These longer-period variations are unlikely due to pulsations, including gravity modes. From our simulations based upon a simple spot model, we deduce that we are seeing the photometric modulation of several co-rotating bright spots on the stellar surface. In our model, the starting times (random) and lifetimes (up to several rotations) vary from one spot to another yet all spots rotate at the same period of $4.18$ d, the best-estimated rotation period of the star. This is the first convincing reported case of co-rotating bright spots on an O star, with important implications for drivers of the DACs (resulting from CIRs - Corotating Interaction Regions) with possible bright-spot generation via a breakout at the surface of a global magnetic field generated by a subsurface convection zone.
    03/2014; 441(1).
  • Konstanze Zwintz, Mike Casey, David Guenther
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    ABSTRACT: Pre-main sequence (PMS) stars can become vibrationally unstable during their evolution to the zero-age main sequence (ZAMS). As they gain their energy from gravitational contraction and have not started nuclear fusion in their cores yet, their inner structures are significantly different to those of (post-) main sequence stars and can be probed by asteroseismology.Using photometric time series from ground and from space (MOST, CoRoT & Spitzer) the number of confirmed pulsating pre-main sequence stars has increased significantly within the last years and allowed to find members of new classes of PMS pulsators. Apart from the well-established group of δ Scuti type PMS stars, members of the groups of PMS γ Doradus, PMS δ Scuti - γ Doradus hybrid and PMS slowly pulsating B (SPB) stars have been discovered. For five PMS δ Scuti candidates, space photometry has revealed that they only show irregular variability, but no pulsations.The unique high-precision space data were combined with dedicated high-resolution spectra to probe the parameter space in the H-R diagram and study the properties of PMS pulsators in comparison to their evolutionary stage.
    01/2014;
  • M. P. Casey, K. Zwintz, D. B. Guenther
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    ABSTRACT: Pulsating pre-main-sequence (PMS) stars afford the earliest opportunity in the lifetime of a star to which the concepts of asteroseismology can be applied. PMS stars should be structurally simpler than their evolved counterparts, thus (hopefully!) making any asteroseismic analysis relatively easier. Unfortunately, this isn't necessarily the case. The majority of these stars (around 80) are δ Scuti pulsators, with a couple of γ Doradus, γ Doradus - δ Scuti hybrids, and slowly pulsating B stars thrown into the mix. The majority of these stars have only been discovered within the last ten years, with the community still uncovering the richness of phenomena associated with these stars, many of which defy traditional asteroseismic analysis.A systematic asteroseismic analysis of all of the δ Scuti PMS stars was performed in order to get a better handle on the properties of these stars as a group. Some strange results have been found, including one star pulsating up to the theoretical acoustic cut-off frequency of the star, and a number of stars in which the most basic asteroseismic analysis suggests problems with the stars' positions in the Hertzsprung-Russell diagram. From this we get an idea of the\break constraints - or lack thereof - that these results can put on PMS stellar evolution.
    01/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: MOST observations were obtained to search for photometric non-radial oscillations; none was detected with an upper limit of 0.0001 in relative amplitude. A single, precise moment of the primary eclipse confirms the progressive shortening of the orbital period.
    Information Bulletin on Variable Stars. 11/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We study 23 previously published Kepler targets to perform a consistent grid-based Bayesian asteroseismic analysis and compare our results to those obtained via the Asteroseismic Modelling Portal (AMP). We find differences in the derived stellar parameters of many targets and their uncertainties. While some of these differences can be attributed to systematic effects between stellar evolutionary models, we show that the different methodologies deliver incompatible uncertainties for some parameters. Using non-adiabatic models and our capability to measure surface effects, we also investigate the dependency of these surface effects on the stellar parameters. Our results suggest a dependence of the magnitude of the surface effect on the mixing length parameter which also, but only minimally, affects the determination of stellar parameters. While some stars in our sample show no surface effect at all, the most significant surface effects are found for stars that are close to the Sun's position in the HR diagram.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 07/2013; 435(1). · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Variability on all time scales between seconds and decades is typical for cataclysmic variables (CVs). One of the brightest and best studied CVs is TT Ari, a nova-like variable which belongs to the VY Scl subclass, characterized by occasional low states in their light curves. It is also known as a permanent superhumper at high state, revealing "positive" (P_S > P_0) as well as "negative" (P_S < P_0) superhumps, where P_S is the period of the superhump and P_0 the orbital period. TT Ari was observed by the Canadian space telescope MOST for about 230 hours nearly continuously in 2007, with a time resolution of 48 seconds. Here we analyze these data, obtaining a dominant "negative" superhump signal with a period P_S = 0.1331 days and a mean amplitude of 0.09 mag. Strong flickering with amplitudes up to 0.2 mag and peak-to-peak time scales of 15-20 minutes is superimposed on the periodic variations. We found no indications for significant quasi-periodic oscillations with periods around 15 minutes, reported by other authors. We discuss the known superhump behaviour of TT Ari during the last five decades and conclude that our period value is at the upper limit of all hitherto determined "negative" superhump periods of TT Ari, before and after the MOST run.
    Astronomische Nachrichten 07/2013; · 1.40 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Through photometric monitoring of the extended transit window of HD 97658b with the MOST space telescope, we have found that this exoplanet transits with an ephemeris consistent with that predicted from radial velocity measurements. The mid-transit times are 5.6σ earlier than those of the unverified transit-like signals reported in 2011, and we find no connection between the two sets of events. The transit depth together with our determined stellar radius () indicates a 2.34R ⊕ super-Earth. When combined with the radial velocity determined mass of 7.86 ± 0.73 M ⊕, our radius measure allows us to derive a planet density of 3.44 g cm–3. Models suggest that a planet with our measured density has a rocky core that is enveloped in an atmosphere composed of lighter elements. The star of the HD 97658 system is the second brightest known to host a transiting super-Earth, facilitating follow-up studies of this not easily daunted, warm and likely volatile-rich exoplanet.
    The Astrophysical Journal Letters 07/2013; 772(1):L2. · 6.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: MOST time series photometry of μ Eri, an SB1 eclipsing binary with a rapidly rotating SPB primary, is reported and analysed. The analysis yields a number of sinusoidal terms, mainly due to the intrinsic variation of the primary, and the eclipse light curve. New radial-velocity observations are presented and used to compute parameters of a spectroscopic orbit. Frequency analysis of the radial-velocity residuals from the spectroscopic orbital solution fails to uncover periodic variations with amplitudes greater than 2 km s-1. A Rossiter-McLaughlin anomaly is detected from observations covering ingress. From archival photometric indices and the revised Hipparcos parallax, we derive the primary's effective temperature, surface gravity, bolometric correction and the luminosity. An analysis of a high signal-to-noise spectrogram yields the effective temperature and surface gravity in good agreement with the photometric values. From the same spectrogram, we determine the abundance of He, C, N, O, Ne, Mg, Al, Si, P, S, Cl and Fe. The eclipse light curve is solved by means of EBOP. For a range of mass of the primary, a value of mean density, very nearly independent of assumed mass, is computed from the parameters of the system. Contrary to a recent report, this value is approximately equal to the mean density obtained from the star's effective temperature and luminosity. Despite limited frequency resolution of the MOST data, we were able to recover the closely spaced SPB frequency quadruplet discovered from the ground in 2002-2004. The other two SPB terms seen from the ground were also recovered. Moreover, our analysis of the MOST data adds 15 low-amplitude SPB terms with frequencies ranging from 0.109 to 2.786 d-1.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 06/2013; 432(2):1032-1045. · 5.52 Impact Factor
  • M. Gruberbauer, D. B. Guenther
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    ABSTRACT: We perform a Bayesian grid-based analysis of the solar l = 0, 1, 2 and 3 p modes obtained via BiSON in order to deliver the first Bayesian asteroseismic analysis of the solar composition problem. We do not find decisive evidence to prefer either of the contending chemical compositions, although the revised solar abundances (AGSS09) are more probable in general. We do find indications for systematic problems in standard stellar evolution models, unrelated to the consequences of inadequate modelling of the outer layers on the higher order modes. The seismic observables are best fitted by solar models that are several hundred million years older than the meteoritic age of the Sun. Similarly, meteoritic age calibrated models do not adequately reproduce the observed seismic observables. Our results suggest that these problems will affect any asteroseismic inference that relies on a calibration to the Sun.
    Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society 06/2013; 432(1):417-429. · 5.52 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Through photometric monitoring of the extended transit window of HD 97658b with the MOST space telescope, we have found that this exoplanet transits with an ephemeris consistent with that predicted from radial velocity measurements. The mid-transit times are 6$\sigma$ earlier than those of the unverified transit-like signals reported in 2011, and we find no connection between the two sets of events. The transit depth indicates a 2.34$^{+0.18}_{-0.15}$ $R_\earth$ super-Earth. When combined with the radial velocity determined mass of 7.86 $\pm 0.73$ $M_\earth$, our radius measure allows us to derive a planet density of 3.44$^{+0.91}_{-0.82}$ g cm$^{-3}$. Models suggest that a planet with our measured density has a rocky core that is enveloped in an atmosphere composed of lighter elements. The star of the HD 97658 system is the second brightest known to host a transiting super-Earth, facilitating folllow-up studies of this not easily daunted, warm and likely volatile-rich exoplanet.
    05/2013;
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    ABSTRACT: We present results from three weeks' photometric monitoring of the magnetic helium-strong star sigma Ori E using the MOST microsatellite. The star's light curve is dominated by twice-per-rotation eclipse-like dimmings arising when magnetospheric clouds transit across and occult the stellar disk. However, no evidence is found for any abrupt centrifugal breakout of plasma from the magnetosphere, either in the residual flux or in the depths of the light minima. Motivated by this finding we compare the observationally inferred magnetospheric mass against that predicted by a breakout analysis. The large discrepancy between the values leads us to argue that centrifugal breakout does not play a significant role in establishing the magnetospheric mass budget of sigma Ori E.
    The Astrophysical Journal 04/2013; 769(1). · 6.73 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

2k Citations
782.15 Total Impact Points

Institutions

  • 1999–2014
    • St. Mary's University
      • • Department of Astronomy and Physics
      • • Institute for Computational Astrophysics (ICA)
      Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 2013
    • Cape Breton University
      Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 2012
    • University of Texas at Austin
      • Department of Astronomy
      Texas City, TX, United States
  • 2008
    • Slovak Academy of Sciences
      • Astronomical Institute
      Presburg, Bratislavský, Slovakia
  • 1983–2005
    • Yale University
      • Department of Astronomy
      New Haven, Connecticut, United States