This grouping of stars is about 300 million years old. This makes it middle-aged by open star cluster standards. The cluster stars that started off with moderate masses are still shining brightly with blue-white colours, but the more massive ones have already exhausted their supplies of hydrogen fuel and have become red giant stars. As a result the cluster appears rich in both blue and orange stars. The most massive stars in the original cluster will have already run through their brief but brilliant lives and exploded as supernovae long ago. There are also numerous less conspicuous fainter stars of lower mass that have longer lives and shine with yellow or red hues. NGC 3532 consists of around 400 stars in total.
We present the first results of a dedicated search for pulsating white dwarfs (WDs) in detached white dwarf plus main-sequence binaries. Candidate systems were selected from a catalogue of WD+MS binaries, based on the surface gravities and effective temperatures of the WDs. We observed a total of 26 systems using ULTRACAM mounted on ESO's 3.5m New Technology Telescope (NTT) at La Silla. Our photometric observations reveal pulsations in seven WDs of our sample, including the first pulsating white dwarf with a main-sequence companion in a post common envelope binary, SDSSJ1136+0409. Asteroseismology of these new pulsating systems will provide crucial insight into how binary interactions, particularly the common envelope phase, affect the internal structure and evolution of WDs. In addition, our observations have revealed the partially eclipsing nature of one of our targets, SDSSJ1223-0056.
Authors: S. Pyrzas, B. T. Gaensicke, J. J. Hermes, C. M. Copperwheat, A. Rebassa-Mansergas, V. S. Dhillon, S. P. Littlefair, T. R. Marsh, S. G. Parsons, C. D. J. Savoury, M. R. Schreiber, S. C. C. Barros, J. Bento, E. Breedt, P. Kerry
We present Doppler images of both components of the eclipsing binary system ER Vul, based on the spectra obtained in 2004 November, 2006 September and 2008 November. The least-squares deconvolution technique is used for enhancing the signal-to-noise ratios of the observed profiles. The new surface images reveal that both stars of ER Vul show strong starspot activities and the starspots appear at various latitudes. The surface maps of 2006 and 2008 both show the presence of large high-latitude starspots on each component of ER Vul. We find no obvious phase shift of the active regions during our observations. The longitude distributions of starspots are non-uniform on both stars. At low-to-mid latitudes, the active regions are almost exclusively found in the hemisphere facing the other star. However, we find no pronounced concentration of spots at the sub-stellar points.
Authors: Yue Xiang, Shenghong Gu, A. Collier Cameron, J. R. Barnes
To get an idea of how stars live and die, we can’t just pick one and watch its life unfold in real time. Most stars live for billions of years! So instead, we do a population census of sorts. Much like you can study how humans age by taking a “snapshot” of individuals ranging from newborn to elderly, so too can we study the lives of stars.
But like all good things in life (and stars), there are exceptions. Sometimes, stellar evolution happens on more human timescales—tens to hundreds of years rather than millions or billions. One such exception is the topic of today’s paper: planetary nebulae, and the rapidly dying stellar corpses responsible for all that glowing gas.
All stars similar to our Sun, or up to about eight times as massive, will end their lives embedded in planetary nebulae like these. The name is a holdover from their discovery and general appearance—we have long known that planetary nebulae have nothing to do with planets. Instead, they are the former outer layers of a star: an envelope of material hastily ejected when gravity can no longer hold a star together. In its final death throes, what’s left of the star rapidly heats up and begins to ionize gas in the nebula surrounding it.