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Periodicities of the RV Tau-type pulsating star DF Cygni: a combination of Kepler data with ground-based observations

The RV Tauri stars constitute a small group of classical pulsating stars with some dozen known members in the Milky Way. The light variation is caused predominantly by pulsations, but these alone do not explain the full complexity of the light curves. High quality photometry of RV Tau-type stars is very rare. DF Cygni is the only member of this class of stars in the original Kepler field, hence allowing the most accurate photometric investigation of an RV Tauri star to date. The main goal is to analyse the periodicities of the RV Tauri-type star DF Cygni by combining four years of high-quality Kepler photometry with almost half a century of visual data collected by the American Association of Variable Star Observers. Kepler quarters of data have been stitched together to minimize the systematic effects of the space data. The mean levels have been matched with the AAVSO visual data. Both datasets have been submitted to Fourier and wavelet analyses, while the stability of the main pulsations has been studied with the O-C method and the analysis of the time-dependent amplitudes. DF Cygni shows a very rich behaviour on all time-scales. The slow variation has a period of 779.606 d and it has been remarkably coherent during the whole time-span of the combined data. On top of the long-term cycles the pulsations appear with a period of 24.925 d. Both types of light variation significantly fluctuate in time, with a constantly changing interplay of amplitude and phase modulations. The long-period change (i.e. the RVb signature) somewhat resembles the Long Secondary Period (LSP) phenomenon of the pulsating red giants, whereas the short-period pulsations are very similar to those of the Cepheid variables. Comparing the pulsation patterns with the latest models of Type-II Cepheids, we found evidence of strong non-linear effects directly observable in the Kepler light curve.

Read the pre-print on arXiv

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