Journal Article

Gaussian process modelling of asteroseismic data

B. J. Brewer and D. Stello

in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society

Published on behalf of The Royal Astronomical Society

Volume 395, issue 4, pages 2226-2233
Published in print June 2009 | ISSN: 0035-8711
Published online May 2009 | e-ISSN: 1365-2966 | DOI:
Gaussian process modelling of asteroseismic data

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The measured properties of stellar oscillations can provide powerful constraints on the internal structure and composition of stars. To begin this process, oscillation frequencies must be extracted from the observational data, typically time series of the star's brightness or radial velocity. In this paper, a probabilistic model is introduced for inferring the frequencies and amplitudes of stellar oscillation modes from data, assuming that there is some periodic character to the oscillations, but that they may not be exactly sinusoidal. Effectively, we fit damped oscillations to the time series, and hence the mode lifetime is also recovered. While this approach is computationally demanding for large time series (>1500 points), it should at least allow improved analysis of observations of solar-like oscillations in subgiant and red giant stars, as well as sparse observations of semiregular stars, where the number of points in the time series is often low. The method is demonstrated on simulated data and then applied to radial velocity measurements of the red giant star ξ Hydrae, yielding a mode lifetime between 0.41 and 2.65 d with 95 per cent posterior probability. The large frequency separation between modes is ambiguous, however we argue that the most plausible value is 6.3 μHz, based on the radial velocity data and the star's position in the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram.

Keywords: methods: statistical; stars: individual: ξ Hydrae; stars: oscillations

Journal Article.  5943 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics

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