AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 73 White Dwarfs and Neutron Stars
Oral, Tuesday, January 6, 2004, 2:00-3:30pm, Learning Center

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[73.03] The Peculiar Pulsations of PY Vul

S. E. Thompson, J. C. Clemens (UNC-Chapel Hill), M. H. van Kerkwijk (University of Toronto)

The pulsating white dwarf star PY Vul (G~185-32) exhibits pulsation modes with peculiar properties that set it apart from other variable stars in the ZZ Ceti (DAV) class. These peculiarities include a low total pulsation amplitude, a mode with bizarre amplitudes in the ultraviolet, and a mode harmonic that exceeds the amplitude of its fundamental. Here, we present optical, time series spectroscopy of PY Vul acquired with the Keck II LRIS spectrograph. Our analysis has revealed that the mode with unusual UV amplitudes also has distinguishing characteristics in the optical. Comparison of its line profile variations to models suggests that this mode has a spherical degree of four. We show that all the other peculiarities in this star are accounted for by a dominant pulsation mode of \ell=4, and propose this hypothesis as a solution to the mysteries of PY Vul.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.