Beyond the Kepler/K2 bright limit: variability in the seven brightest members of the Pleiades

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal article

  • Tim White
  • B. J. S. Pope, Oxford Astrophysics, University of Oxford, Denys Wilkinson Building, Keble Rd, Oxford OX1 3RH, UK,
  • Victoria Antoci
  • P. I. Pápics, Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, K.U. Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200D, 3001 Leuven, Belgium , C. Aerts, Department of Astrophysics/IMAPP, Radboud University, P.O. Box 9010, 6500 GL Nijmegen, The Netherlands s.larsen@astro.ru.nl, D. R. Gies, Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy and Department of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University, PO Box 5060, Atlanta, GA 30302-410, USA, K. Gordon, Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy and Department of Physics and Astronomy, Georgia State University, PO Box 5060, Atlanta, GA 30302-410, USA, D. Huber, Institute for Astronomy, University of Hawai`i, 2680 Woodlawn Drive, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA, Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SIfA), School of Physics, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia, SETI Institute, 189 Bernardo Avenue, Mountain View, CA 94043, USA, G. H. Schaefer, The CHARA Array of Georgia State University, Mount Wilson Observatory, Mount Wilson, CA 91023, USA, S. Aigrain, Oxford Astrophysics, University of Oxford, Denys Wilkinson Building, Keble Rd, Oxford OX1 3RH, UK,
  • S. Albrecht
  • T. Barclay, Bay Area Environmental Research Inst., 560 Third St., West Sonoma, CA 95476, USA, G. Barentsen, Bay Area Environmental Research Inst., 560 Third St., West Sonoma, CA 95476, USA, P. G. Beck, Laboratoire AIM, CEA/DRF - CNRS - Univ. Paris Diderot - IRFU/SAp, Centre de Saclay, 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette Cedex, France, FranceT. R. Bedding, Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SIfA), School of Physics, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia,
  • M. Fredslund Andersen
  • F. Grundahl
  • S. B. Howell, NASA Ames Research Center Institute, Moffett Field, CA 94035, USA, M. J. Ireland, Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2611, Australia,
  • S. J. Murphy
  • M. B. Nielsen, Max-Planck-Institut für Sonnensystemforschung, Justus-von-Liebig-Weg 3, D-37077 Göttingen, Germany, Center for Space Science, NYUAD Institute, New York University Abu Dhabi, P.O. Box 129188, Abu Dhabi, UAE 0000-0001-9405-5552,
  • V. Silva Aguirre
  • P. G. Tuthill, Sydney Institute for Astronomy (SIfA), School of Physics, University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia

The most powerful tests of stellar models come from the brightest stars in the sky, for which complementary techniques, such as astrometry, asteroseismology, spectroscopy and interferometry, can be combined. The K2 mission is providing a unique opportunity to obtain high-precision photometric time series for bright stars along the ecliptic. However, bright targets require a large number of pixels to capture the entirety of the stellar flux, and CCD saturation, as well as restrictions on data storage and bandwidth, limit the number and brightness of stars that can be observed. To overcome this, we have developed a new photometric technique, which we call halo photometry, to observe very bright stars using a limited number of pixels. Halo photometry is simple, fast and does not require extensive pixel allocation, and will allow us to use K2 and other photometric missions, such as TESS, to observe very bright stars for asteroseismology and to search for transiting exoplanets. We apply this method to the seven brightest stars in the Pleiades open cluster. Each star exhibits variability; six of the stars show what are most likely slowly pulsating B-star pulsations, with amplitudes ranging from 20 to 2000 ppm. For the star Maia, we demonstrate the utility of combining K2 photometry with spectroscopy and interferometry to show that it is not a 'Maia variable', and to establish that its variability is caused by rotational modulation of a large chemical spot on a 10 d time-scale.

Original languageEnglish
JournalRoyal Astronomical Society. Monthly Notices
Volume471
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)2882-2901
Number of pages20
ISSN0035-8711
DOIs
StatePublished - 2017

    Research areas

  • asteroseismology, techniques: photometric, stars: early type, stars: variables: general, open clusters and associations: individual: Pleiades, B-TYPE STARS, ICCD SPECKLE OBSERVATIONS, CHEMICALLY PECULIAR STARS, PALOMAR TESTBED INTERFEROMETER, PIXEL-LEVEL DECORRELATION, SPACE-BASED PHOTOMETRY, DETECTS G-MODES, ORDER G-MODES, V-SIN-I, BINARY STARS

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