Evidence for low-dimensional chaos in semiregular variable stars

J. Robert Buchler, Zoltáan Kolláth, Robert R. Cadmus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

36 Citations (Scopus)


We present an analysis of the photometric observations of the light curves of the five large-amplitude, irregularly pulsating stars R UMi, RS Cyg, V CVn, UX Dra, and SX Her. First, multiperiodicity is eliminated for these pulsations; i.e., they are not caused by the excitation of a small number of pulsation modes with constant amplitudes. Next, on the basis of energetics we also eliminate stochasticity as a cause, leaving low-dimensional chaos as the only alternative. We then use a global flow reconstruction technique in an attempt to extract quantitative information from the light curves and to uncover common physical features in this class of irregular variable stars that straddle the RV Tau to the Mira variables. Evidence is presented that the pulsational behavior of R UMi, RS Cyg, V CVn, and UX Dra takes place in a four-dimensional dynamical phase space, suggesting that two vibrational modes are involved in the pulsation. A linear stability analysis of the fixed points of the maps further indicates the existence of a two-mode resonance, similar to the one we had uncovered earlier in R Set. The irregular pulsations are the result of a continual energy exchange between two strongly nonadiabatic modes, a lower frequency pulsation mode and an overtone that are in a close 2:1 resonance. The evidence is particularly convincing for R UMi, RS Cyg, and V CVn, but much weaker for UX Dra. In contrast, the pulsations of SX Her appear to be more complex and may require a six-dimensional space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)532-547
Number of pages16
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
Publication statusPublished - Sep 20 2004


  • Methods: data analysis
  • Stars: AGB and post-AGB
  • Stars: individual (R Ursae Minoris, RS Cygni, V Canum Venaticorum, UX Draconis, SX Herculis)
  • Stars: oscillations
  • Stars: variables: other

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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