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Daytona Beach


Physical Sciences

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We report our measurement of the rate of change of period with time () for the 215 s periodicity in the pulsating white dwarf G 117-B15A, the most stable optical clock known. After 31 years of observations, we have finally obtained a 4 σ measurement observed = (4.27 ± 0.80) × 10-15 s s-1. Taking into account the proper-motion effect of proper = (7.0 ± 2.0) × 10-16s s-1, we obtain a rate of change of period with time of = (3.57 ± 0.82) × 10-15 s s-1. This value is consistent with the cooling rate in our white dwarf models only for cores of C or C/O. With the refinement of the models, the observed rate of period change can be used to accurately measure the ratio of C/O in the core of the white dwarf.

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The Astrophysical Journal


Institute of Physics Publishing, Inc.

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Partially supported by grants from CNPq (Brazil), FINEP (Brazil), NSF (USA), and NASA (USA)

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Dr. von Hippel was not affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University at the time this paper was published.