2006 Whole earth telescope observations of GD358: A new look at the prototype DBV


We report on the analysis of 436.1 hr of nearly continuous high-speed photometry on the pulsating DB white dwarf GD358 acquired with the Whole Earth Telescope (WET) during the 2006 international observing run, designated XCOV25. The Fourier transform (FT) of the light curve contains power between 1000 and 4000 μHz, with the dominant peak at 1234 μHz. We find 27 independent frequencies distributed in 10 modes, as well as numerous combination frequencies. Our discussion focuses on a new asteroseismological analysis of GD358, incorporating the 2006 data set and drawing on 24 years of archival observations. Our results reveal that, while the general frequency locations of the identified modes are consistent throughout the years, the multiplet structure is complex and cannot be interpreted simply as l = 1 modes in the limit of slow rotation. The high-k multiplets exhibit significant variability in structure, amplitude and frequency. Any identification of the m components for the high-k multiplets is highly suspect. The k = 9 and 8 modes typically do show triplet structure more consistent with theoretical expectations. The frequencies and amplitudes exhibit some variability, but much less than the high-k modes. Analysis of the k = 9 and 8 multiplet splittings from 1990 to 2008 reveal a long-term change in multiplet splittings coinciding with the 1996 sforzando event, where GD358 dramatically altered its pulsation characteristics on a timescale of hours. We explore potential implications, including the possible connections between convection and/or magnetic fields and pulsations. We suggest future investigations, including theoretical investigations of the relationship between magnetic fields, pulsation, growth rates, and convection.


Physics, Astronomy, and Materials Science

Document Type





stars: evolution, stars: individual (GD358), stars: oscillations, white dwarfs

Publication Date


Journal Title

Astrophysical Journal