Motivated by recent interest in the phenomenon of waves transport in massive stars, we examine whether the heat-driven gravity (g) modes excited in slowly-pulsating B (SPB) stars can significantly modify the stars’ internal rotation. We develop a formalism for the differential torque exerted by g modes, and implement this formalism using the GYRE oscillation code and the MESASTAR stellar evolution code. Focusing first on a $4.21$ $M_\odot$ model, we simulate 1,000 years of stellar evolution under the combined effects of the torque due to a single unstable prograde g mode (with an amplitude chosen on the basis of observational constraints), and diffusive angular momentum transport due to convection, overshooting, and rotational instabilities.
We find that the g mode rapidly extracts angular momentum from the surface layers, depositing it deeper in the stellar interior. The angular momentum transport is so efficient that by the end of the simulation the initially non-rotating surface layers are spun in the retrograde direction to $\approx30\%$ of the critical rate. However, the additional inclusion of magnetic stresses in our simulations, almost completely inhibits this spin-up.
Expanding our simulations to cover the whole instability strip, we show that the same general behavior is seen in all SPB stars. After providing some caveats to contextualize our results, we hypothesize that the observed slower surface rotation of SPB stars (as compared to other B-type stars) may be the direct consequence of the angular momentum transport that our simulations demonstrate.
R. Townsend, J. Goldstein and E. Zweibel
Fri, 8 Dec 17
Comments: Accepted for publication in MNRAS (13 pages, 8 figures)