Constraining the Evolution of ZZ Ceti

A. S. Mukadam 1 , 2 , S. O. Kepler 3 , 4 , 5 , D. E. Winget 1 , 2 , R. E. Nather 1 , 2 , M. Kilic 1 , 2 , F. Mullally 1 , 2 , T. von Hippel 1 , 2 , S. J. Kleinman 6 , A. Nitta 6 , J. A. Guzik 7 , P. A. Bradley 7 , J. Matthews 8 , K. Sekiguchi 9 , D. J. Sullivan 10 , R. R. Shobbrook 11 , P. Birch 12 , X. J. Jiang 13 , D. W. Xu 13 , S. Joshi 14 , B.N. Ashoka 15 , P. Ibbetson 16 , E. Leibowitz 16 , E. O. Ofek 16 , E. G. Meištas 17 , 18 , R. Janulis 17 , 18 , D. Ališauskas 18 , R. Kalytis 18 , G. Handler 19 , D. Kilkenny 19 , D. O’Donoghue 19 , D. W. Kurtz 20 , 21 , M. Müller 22 , P. Moskalik 23 , W. Ogłoza 24 , 25 , S. Zoła 25 , 26 , J. Krzesiński 25 , F. Johannessen 27 , J. M. Gonzalez-Perez 27 , J-E. Solheim 27 , R. Silvotti 28 , S. Bernabei 29 , G. Vauclair 21 , N. Dolez 21 , J. N. Fu 21 , M. Chevreton 30 , M. Manteiga 31 , O. Súarez 32 , A. Ulla 33 , M. S. Cunha 34 , 35 , T. S. Metcalfe 36 , A. Kanaan 37 , L. Fraga 37 , A. F. M. Costa 38 , 39 , O. Giovannini 39 , 40 , G. Fontaine 41 , P. Bergeron 41 , M. S. O’Brien 42 , D. Sanwal 43 , M. A. Wood 44 , T. J. Ahrens 45 , N. Silvestri 44 , E. W. Klumpe 45 , S. D. Kawaler 46 , R. Riddle 46 , M. D. Reed 47  and T. K. Watson 48
  • 1 University of Texas at Austin, 17.310 RLM Hall, Austin, TX -78712, U.S.A. United States of America
  • 2 McDonald Observatory, Fort Davis, TX -79734, United States of America
  • 3 Instituto de Física, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, 91501- 970 Porto Alegre, RS - Brazil Chile
  • 4 Laboratório Nacional de Astrofísica, Visiting Astronomer, operated by the Ministério de Ciência e Tecnologia, Brazil Chile
  • 5 Cerro Tololo Interamerican Observatory, Visiting Astronomer, operated by AURA for the NSF, Chile
  • 6 Apache Point Observatory, P.O. Box 59, Sunspot, NM 88349, United States of America
  • 7 Los Alamos National Laboratory, X-2, MS B220, Los Alamos, NM 87545-2345, United States of America
  • 8 Department of Physics & Astronomy, University of British Columbia, V6T 1Z4, Vancouver, Canada
  • 9 Subaru Telescope, National Astronomical Observatory of Japan, 650 North Aohoku Place, Hilo, Hawaii 96720, United States of America
  • 10 School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington, P.O. Box 600, Wellington, New Zealand
  • 11 Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Australian National University, Weston Creek PO, ACT 2611, Australia
  • 12 Perth Observatory Walnut Rd., Bickley, Western Australia 6076, Australia
  • 13 Beijing Astronomical Observatory and Joint Laboratories of Optical Astronomy, National Astronomical Observatories of China, Beijing 100012, China
  • 14 Uttar Pradesh State Observatory, Manora Peak-263 129, Nainital, India
  • 15 Indian Space Research Organization, Technical Physics Division, ISRO Satellite Center, Airport Road, Bangalore 560017, India
  • 16 School of Physics and Astronomy and the Wise Observatory, Tel Aviv University, Ramat Aviv, Tel Aviv 69978, Israel
  • 17 Institute of Theoretical Physics and Astronomy, Goštauto 12, Vilnius 2600, Lithuania Lithuania
  • 18 Vilnius University Observatory, Čiurlionio 29, Vilnius 2009, Lithuania
  • 19 South African Astronomical Observatory, PO Box 9, Observatory 7935, South Africa
  • 20 Centre for Astrophysics, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, PR1 2HE, UK France
  • 21 Observatoire Midi-Pyrenees, 14 Avenue E. Belin, 31400 Toulouse, France
  • 22 Department of Astronomy, University of Cape Town, Rondebosch 7701, South Africa
  • 23 N. Copernicus Astronomical Center, Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Bartycka 18, 00-716 Warsaw, Poland
  • 24 N. Copernicus Astronomical Center, Polish Academy of Sciences, ul. Bartycka 18, 00-716 Warsaw, Poland Poland
  • 25 Mount Suhora Observatory, Cracow Pedagogical University, ul. Podchorych 2, 30-084 Cracow, Poland
  • 26 Astronomical Observatory, Jagiellonian University, ul. Orla 171, 30-244 Krakow, Poland Poland
  • 27 Institutt for Fysikk, Universitetet i Tromsø, N-9037 Tromsø, Norway
  • 28 Osservatorio Astronomico di Capodimonte, via Moiariello 16, 80131 Napoli, Italy
  • 29 Osservatorio Astronomico di Bologna, Via Ranzani 1, Bologna, Italy
  • 30 Observatoire de Paris Meudon, 92195 Meudon, France
  • 31 Universidade da Coruña, Departamento de Ciencias Naúticas e da Terra, Spain
  • 32 Universidade da Coruña, Departamento de Ciencias Naúticas e da Terra, Spain Universidade de Vigo, Departamento de Física Aplicada, Facultade de Ciencias, Campus Marcosende–Lagoas, 36200 Vigo (Pontavedra), Spain
  • 33 Universidade de Vigo, Departamento de Física Aplicada, Facultade de Ciencias, Campus Marcosende–Lagoas, 36200 Vigo (Pontavedra), Spain
  • 34 Centro de Astrofisica da Universidade do Porto, Rua das Estrelas, 4150 Porto, Portugal Portugal
  • 35 Instituto Superior da Maia, Av. Carlos Oliveira Campos, Castelo da Maia, 4475-690 Avioso S. Pedro, Portugal
  • 36 Theoretical Astrophysics Center, Institute of Physics and Astronomy, Aarhus University, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
  • 37 Departamento de Fisica, Universidade Federal de Santa Catarina, 88040-900, Florianopolis, SC, Brazil
  • 38 Instituto de Física, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, 91501-970 Porto Alegre, RS - Brazil Brazil
  • 39 Laboratório Nacional de Astrofísica, Visiting Astronomer, operated by the Ministério de Ciência e Tecnologia, Brazil
  • 40 Departamento de Fisica e Quimica, Universidade de Caxias do Sul, 95001-970, Caxias do Sul, RS, Brazil Brazil
  • 41 Département de Physique, Université de Montréal, C.P. 6128, Succ. Centre-Ville, Montréal, Québec, H3C 3J7, Canada
  • 42 Space Telescope Science Institute, Baltimore, MD 21218, United States of America
  • 43 Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, United States of America
  • 44 Department of Physics and Space Sciences & SARA Observatory, Florida Institute of Technology, 150 West University Boulevard, Melbourne, FL 32901-6975, United States of America
  • 45 Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Murfreesboro, TN 37132, United States of America
  • 46 Department of Physics and Astronomy, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, United States of America
  • 47 Southwest Missouri State University, 901 S. National, Springfield, MO 65807, United States of America
  • 48 Information Technology Services, Southwestern University, Georgetown, TX 78626, United States of America

Abstract

We report our analysis of the stability of pulsation periods in the DAV star (pulsating hydrogen atmosphere white dwarf) ZZ Ceti, also called R548. Based on observations that span 31 years, we conclude that the period 213.132605 s observed in ZZ Ceti drifts at a rate dP/dt≤(5.5±1.9)×10−15 s/s, after correcting for proper motion. Our results are consistent with previous Ṗ values for this mode and an improvement over them due to the larger time-base. The characteristic stability timescale implied for the pulsation period is |P/ Ṗ|≥1.2 Gyr, comparable to the theoretical cooling timescale for the star. Our current stability limit for the period 213.132605 s is only slightly less than the present measurement for G117-B15A for the period 215.2 s, another DAV, establishing this mode in ZZ Ceti as the second most stable optical clock known, more stable than atomic clocks and most pulsars.

Constraining the cooling rate of ZZ Ceti aids theoretical evolutionary models and white dwarf cosmochronology. The drift rate of this clock is small enough that reflex motion caused by any orbital planets is detectable within limits; our Ṗ constraint places limits on the mass and/or distance of any orbital companions.

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