The Music of the Stars : Spectroscopy of Pulsations in gamma Doradus Stars
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
The mysteries of the interior structures of stars are being tackled with asteroseismology. The observable parameters of the surface pulsations of stars inform us of the interior characteristics of numerous classes of stars. The main-sequence gamma Doradus stars, just a little hotter than the Sun, offer the potential of determining stellar structure right down to the core. To determine the structural profile of a star, the observed frequencies and a full geometric description must be determined. This is only possible with long-term spectroscopic monitoring and careful analysis of the pulsation signature in spectral lines. This work seeks to identify the pulsational geometry of several gamma Doradus stars and to identify areas of improvement for current observation, analysis and modelling techniques. More than 4500 spectra were gathered on five stars for this purpose. For three stars a successful multi-frequency and mode identification solution was determined and significant progress has been made towards the understanding of a binary system involving a gammaDoradus star. A hybrid gamma Doradus/\delta Scuti pulsator was also intensely monitored and results from this work raise important questions about the classification of this type of star. Current analysis techniques were found to be fit-for-purpose for pure gamma Doradus stars, but stars with complexities such as hybrid pulsations and/or fast rotation require future development of the current models.