Schedule Oct 27, 2011
Recent developments in the theory of RR Lyrae stars
Robert Szabo (Konkoly Obs.)

The physical origin of the amplitude and phase modulation of the RR Lyrae pulsation - known as the Blazhko effect - is still a mystery after more than 100 years of its discovery. With the help of the Kepler space telescope we have revealed a new and unexpected phenomenon: period doubling in modulated Kepler RR Lyrae stars. We have found that period doubling is directly connected to the Blazhko modulation.

I review the vigorous developments in theoretical modeling of RR Lyrae pulsation that this discovery has recently spurred. I show the importance of high-order radial resonances, three-mode resonances, and the possibility of chaotic RR Lyrae pulsation. I demonstrate that these findings have a profound implication on our understanding of the century-old Blazkho problem, and discuss a new explanation of the Blazhko-enigma that has emerged in the wake of these investigations.

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