Journal Article

SPB stars in the open SMC cluster NGC 371

C. Karoff, T. Arentoft, L. Glowienka, C. Coutures, T. B. Nielsen, G. Dogan, F. Grundahl and H. Kjeldsen

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 386, issue 2, pages 1085-1091
Published in print May 2008 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online April 2008 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2966.2008.13105.x
SPB stars in the open SMC cluster NGC 371

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Pulsation in β Cep and slowly pulsating B (SPB) stars are driven by the κ mechanism which depends critically on the metallicity. It has therefore been suggested that β Cep and SPB stars should be rare in the Magellanic Clouds which have lower metallicities than the solar neighbourhood. To test this prediction we have observed the open Small Magellanic Cloud (SMC) cluster NGC 371 for 12 nights in order to search for β Cep and SPB stars. Surprisingly, we find 29 short-period B-type variables in the upper part of the main sequence, many of which are probably SPB stars. This result indicates that pulsation is still driven by the κ mechanism even in low-metallicity environments. All the identified variables have periods longer than the fundamental radial period which means that they cannot be β Cep stars. Within an amplitude detection limit of 5 mmag no stars in the top of the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram show variability with periods shorter than the fundamental radial period. So if β Cep stars are present in the cluster they oscillate with amplitudes below 5 mmag, which is significantly lower than the mean amplitude of β Cep stars in the Galaxy. We see evidence that multimode pulsation is more common in the upper part of the main sequence than in the lower. We have also identified five eclipsing binaries and three periodic pulsating Be stars in the cluster field.

Keywords: stars: early-type; stars: oscillations; Magellanic Clouds

Journal Article.  4035 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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