While it has been an efficient planet-discovery machine, the unblinking photometry of the Kepler space telescope has also revolutionized the way we look at pulsating stars. I will discuss some of the rapid advances Kepler has enabled in our understanding of white dwarf stars, including a completely unexpected new physical phenomenon: large-amplitude outbursts in the coolest pulsating white dwarfs. These outbursts are essentially rogue waves, sporadically increases the overall stellar brightness by up to 15%. The outbursts have provided fresh insight into how pulsation energy can be transferred through nonlinear resonances, as well as the eventual cessation of pulsations in cool white dwarfs.
JJ Hermes (U. of North Carolina)
April 01, 2016
14:00 - 15:00