Stellar evolution and period changes in RR Lyrae stars

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The observed secular period changes of RR Lyrae stars in five globular clusters have been compared with those predicted by synthetic models of the horizontal branch (HB). It is shown that most of the observed number distributions of the period change rate âcould be attributed to evolutionary effects, if the random observational error is of order ±0.07 days Myr-1 in β as suggested by the observers. The model calculations indicate that the mean rate of period change in RR Lyrae stars in globular clusters depend sensitively on their HB type, as is the case for the period shift at a given effective temperature. The distinct bias toward positive period changes in M15 and ω Cen is evidence that most HB stars in the Oosterhoff group II clusters pass through the instability strip from blue to red toward the end of their core helium burning phase. If confirmed by future observations, this is strong support for the Lee, Demarque, and Zinn explanation of the Sandage period-shift effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)524-527
Number of pages4
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1991 Feb 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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