Toward an empirical determination of the ZZ Ceti instability strip.
GIANNINAS A., BERGERON P. and FONTAINE G.
Abstract (from CDS):
We present atmospheric parameters for a large sample of DA white dwarfs that are known to be photometrically constant. For each star, we determine the effective temperature and surface gravity by comparing high signal-to-noise ratio optical spectra to the predictions of detailed model atmosphere calculations. We also report the successful prediction and detection of photometric variability in G232-38 based on similar Teffand logg determinations. The atmospheric parameters derived for this sample of constant stars, as well as those for the known sample of bright ZZ Ceti stars (now boosted to a total of 39), have been obtained in a highly homogeneous way. We combine them to study the empirical red and blue edges, as well as the purity of the ZZ Ceti instability strip. We find that the red edge is rather well constrained, whereas there exists a rather large range of possibilities for the slope of the blue edge. Furthermore, the ZZ Ceti instability strip that results from our analysis contains no nonvariable white dwarfs. Our sample of constant stars is part of a much broader spectroscopic survey of bright (V<17) DA white dwarfs, which we have recently undertaken. We also present here some preliminary results of this survey. Finally, we revisit the analysis by Mukadam et al. of the variable and nonvariable DA stars uncovered as part of the Sloan Digital Sky Survey. Their erroneous conclusion of an instability strip containing several nonvariable stars is traced back to the low signal-to-noise ratio spectroscopic observations used in that survey.