Back to Volume
Paper: Do the Constants of Nature Couple to Strong Gravitational Fields?
Volume: 493, 19th European Workshop on White Dwarfs
Page: 415
Authors: Preval, S. P.; Barstow, M. A.; Holberg, J. B.; Barrow, J. D.; Berengut, J. C.; Webb, J. K.; Dougan, D.; Hu, J.
Abstract: Recently, white dwarf stars have found a new use in the fundamental physics community. Many prospective theories of the fundamental interactions of Nature allow traditional constants, like the fine structure constant α, to vary in some way. A study by Berengut et al. (2013) used the Fe/Ni v line measurements made by Preval et al. (2013) from the hot DA white dwarf G191-B2B, in an attempt to detect any variation in α. It was found that the Fe v lines indicated an increasing alpha, whereas the Ni v lines indicated a decreasing alpha. Possible explanations for this could be misidentification of the lines, inaccurate atomic data, or wavelength dependent distortion in the spectrum. We examine the first two cases by using a high S/N reference spectrum from the hot sdO BD+28°4211 to calibrate the Fe/Ni v atomic data. With this new data, we re-evaluate the work of Berengut et al. (2013) to derive a new constraint on the variation of alpha in a gravitational field.
Back to Volume