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Astron. Astrophys. 321, 159-176 (1997)

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On the role of resonances in nonradial pulsators

J.R. Buchler * 1, M.-J. Goupil ** 1 and C.J. Hansen *** 2

1 DASGAL, Observatoire de Paris, F-92195 Meudon, France
2 JILA, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309-0440, USA

Received 10 June 1996 / Accepted 25 September 1996


Resonances or near resonances are ubiquitous among the excited nonradial pulsation modes of variable stars and they must play an important role in determining their pulsational behavior. Here in a first step at nonlinear asteroseismology we explore some of the consequences of resonances by means of the amplitude equation formalism.

We show how parity and angular momentum constraints can be used to eliminate many of the possible nonlinear resonant couplings between modes (and multiplets of modes), and how the amplitude equations can thus be simplified. Even when we may not be able, nor wish, to make an ab initio computation of the values of the coupling coefficients, it is still possible to obtain constraints on the nature of the excited modes if a resonance between observed frequencies can be identified.

Resonances can cause nonlinear frequency locking of modes. This means that the observed frequencies appear in exact resonance even though the linear frequencies are only approximately in resonance. The nonlinear frequency lock, when it occurs, it does so over a range of departures from linear resonance, and it is accompanied by constant pulsation amplitudes. The locked, nonlinear frequencies can differ noticeably from their nonresonant counterparts which are usually used in seismology. This is particularly true for multiplets of modes split by rotation. Beyond the regime of the frequency lock, amplitude and frequency modulations can appear in the pulsations. Far from the resonance condition one recovers the regime of steady pulsations with nonresonant frequencies for which the seismological studies, as they are presently carried out, are justified (provided furthermore, of course, that nonlinear frequency shifts are negligible).

Success in identifying a resonance in an observed power spectrum depends on the quality of the data. While keeping this limitation in mind, we discuss the possible existence of peculiar resonances in the pulsations of specific variable white dwarfs and [FORMULA] Scuti stars.

Key words: methods: analytical – stars: oscillations – stars: ffi Sct – stars: white dwarfs

* buchler@ phys.ufl.edu
** goupil@ mesiob.obspm.fr
*** chansen@ jila.colorado.edu

Send offprint requests to: J. Robert Buchler

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1997

Online publication: June 30, 1998