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Probing tiny convective cores with the acoustic modes of lowest degree

M. S. Cunha, I. M. Brand„o

Abstract
Solar-like oscillations are expected to be excited in stars of up to about 1.6 solar masses. Most of these stars will have convective cores during their main-sequence evolution. At the edges of these convective cores, there is a rapid variation in the sound speed, which influences the frequencies of acoustic oscillations. In this paper we build on earlier work to investigate the impact that these rapid structural variations have on different p-mode frequency combinations, involving modes of low degree. In particular, we adopt a different expression to describe the sound speed variation at the edge of the core, which we show more closely reproduces the profiles derived from the equilibrium models. We analyse the impact of this change on the frequency perturbation derived for radial modes. Moreover, we consider three different small frequency separations involving modes of degree l = 0, 1, 2, 3, l = 0, 1, and l = 0, 2, and show that they are all significantly affected by the sharp sound speed variation at the edge of the core. In particular, we confirm that the frequency derivative of the diagnostic tool that combines modes of degree up to 3 can potentially be used to infer the amplitude of the relative sound speed variation directly at the edge of the core. We show that at high frequencies the other two diagnostic tools can be up to a few µHz smaller than what would be expected in the absence of the rapid structural variation at the edge of the core. Also, we show that the absolute values of their frequency derivatives are significantly increased, in a manner that strongly depends on stellar age.

Keywords
asteroseismology – stars: interiors – stars: evolution – stars: solar-type – stars: oscillations

Astronomy and Astrophysics
Volume 529, Number of pages A10_1
2011 May

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Instituto de Astrof√≠sica e Ci√™ncias do Espa√ßo Universidade do Porto Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa Funda√ß√£o para a Ci√™ncia e a Tecnologia
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