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The Astrophysical Journal


Observation of g-rnode pulsations in the variable pre-white dwarf (GW Virginis) stars provides a unique means to probe their interiors and to study the late stages of stellar evolution. Multisite campaigns have in several cases proved highly successful in decoding pre-white dwarf light curves. Three previous attempts to untangle the pulsation spectrum of the coolest GW Virginis star, PG 0122+200, confirmed the existence of multiple g-modes but left the fundamental period spacing and therefore the star's mass and luminosity in doubt. We present an analysis based on new observations of PG 0122+200 obtained during a Whole Earth Telescope (WET) campaign conducted in the fall of 1996. Although our coverage was, because of bad weather, far poorer than in previous WET campaigns, we confirm the previous result that PG 0122+200 rotates once in 1.6± 0.1 days. The most likely period spacing supported by the data implies a mass of 0.69±0.03 M⊙. Based on the best seismology we can currently do, the cooling of PG 0122+200 is dominated by neutrino losses. This is not true for all pre-white dwarf stars and makes PG 0122+200 the prime candidate for learning useful physics. Constraints placed on the cooling rate of PG 0122+200 by future measurement of dΠ/dt could provide a unique test of the standard theory of lepton interactions in the (experimentally unexplored) region of phase-space appropriate to pre-white dwarf interiors.



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