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Dipole modes with depressed amplitudes in red giants are mixed modes

Abstract : Context. Seismic observations with the space-borne Kepler mission have shown that a number of evolved stars exhibit low-amplitude dipole modes, which is referred to as depressed modes. Recently, these low amplitudes have been attributed to the presence of a strong magnetic field in the stellar core of those stars. Subsequently, and based on this scenario, the prevalence of high magnetic fields in evolved stars has been inferred. It should be noted, however, that this conclusion remains indirect.Aims. We intend to study the properties of mode depression in evolved stars, which is a necessary condition before reaching conclusions about the physical nature of the mechanism responsible for the reduction of the dipole mode amplitudes.Methods. We perform a thorough characterization of the global seismic parameters of depressed dipole modes and show that these modes have a mixed character. The observation of stars showing dipole mixed modes that are depressed is especially useful for deriving model-independent conclusions on the dipole mode damping. We use a simple model to explain how mode visibilities are connected to the extra damping seen in depressed modes.Results. Observations prove that depressed dipole modes in red giants are not pure pressure modes but mixed modes. This result, observed in more than 90% of the bright stars (mV ≤ 11), invalidates the hypothesis that depressed dipole modes result from the suppression of the oscillation in the radiative core of the stars. Observations also show that, except for visibility, seismic properties of the stars with depressed modes are equivalent to those of normal stars. The measurement of the extra damping that is responsible for the reduction of mode amplitudes, without any prior on its physical nature, potentially provides an efficient tool for elucidating the mechanism responsible for the mode depression.Conclusions. The mixed nature of the depressed modes in red giants and their unperturbed global seismic parameters carry strong constraints on the physical mechanism responsible for the damping of the oscillation in the core. This mechanism is able to damp the oscillation in the core but cannot fully suppress it. Moreover, it cannot modify the radiative cavity probed by the gravity component of the mixed modes. The recent mechanism involving high magnetic fields proposed for explaining depressed modes is not compliant with the observations and cannot be used to infer the strength and prevalence of high magnetic fields in red giants.
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B. Mosser, K. Belkacem, C. Pinçon, M. Takata, M. Vrard, et al.. Dipole modes with depressed amplitudes in red giants are mixed modes. Astronomy and Astrophysics - A&A, EDP Sciences, 2017, 598, pp.A62. ⟨10.1051/0004-6361/201629494⟩. ⟨obspm-02190218⟩

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