Discovery of A ZZ Ceti in the Kepler Mission Field

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Hermes, J. J.
Mullally, Fergal
Ostensen, R. H.
Williams, Kurtis A.
Telting, John
Southworth, John
Bloemen, S.
Howell, Steve B.
Everett, Mark
Winget, D. E.

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We report the discovery of the first identified pulsating DA white dwarf, WD J1916+3938 (Kepler ID 4552982), in the field of the Kepler mission. This ZZ Ceti star was first identified through ground-based, time-series photometry, and follow-up spectroscopy confirms that it is a hydrogen-atmosphere white dwarf with T(eff) = 11,129 +/- 115 K and log g = 8.34 +/- 0.06, placing it within the empirical ZZ Ceti instability strip. The object shows up to 0.5% amplitude variability at several periods between 800 and 1450 s. Extended Kepler observations of WD J1916+3938 could yield the best light curve, to date, of any pulsating white dwarf, allowing us to directly study the interior of an evolved object representative of the fate of the majority of stars in our Galaxy.



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Hermes, J. J., Fergal Mullally, R. H. Østensen, Kurtis A. Williams, John Telting, John Southworth, Steven Bloemen, Steve B. Howell, Mark Everett, and D. E. Winget. "Discovery of a ZZ Ceti in the Kepler mission field." The Astrophysical Journal Letters, Vol.741, No. 1 (Nov., 2011): L16.