An analysis of beta cephei stars in NGC 3293 and the effects of stellar rotation

Doctoral Thesis


Permanent link to this Item
Journal Title
Link to Journal
Journal ISSN
Volume Title

University of Cape Town

An intensive photometric study in the Johnson B band of ten β Cephei stars in the open cluster NGC 3293 is presented. High sampling rates of the stars' light curves allow the identification of many formerly unknown pulsation frequencies in these stars, by means of Fourier periodogram analysis. All of the stars are found to be multiperiodic, with up to five frequencies identified for individual stars. Physical parameters of the stars are determined from previous photometric results in the literature. These parameters are used to make a comparison of the observed frequencies with theoretical predictions, including the effects of rotation. The results imply a preference for first and second overtone quadrupole (l=2) pulsation in these stars, while a weak relationship between stellar mass and pulsation overtone is identified. One of the stars is identified as a member of an eclipsing binary system, only the second β Cephei star to be identified as such. Physical parameters of the system are determined. The effects of rapid rotation (specifically, the distortion of the stellar profile from a perfect sphere) on alternative methods of pulsation mode identification are investigated for a model β Cephei star. Ratios between light and velocity amplitudes show extreme differences between rotationally distorted and undistorted models, but these ratios show high sensitivity to other parameters as well. Thermally broadened spectral line profiles are calculated for the same model, for modes with l = 0 to 4 and equatorial rotation velocities up to 400 km/s. Neglect of rotational distortion is shown to lead to underestimation of true equatorial rotation velocities by as much as 253. This result confirms that observed B stars are probably rotating at break-up velocities. In summary, various aspects of the behaviour of the β Cephei stars in NGC 3293 in particular, and of β Cephei stars in general, including rapid rotators, are illuminated and augmented by this study.

Bibliography: p. 243-248.