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Title: Do the constants of nature couple to strong gravitational fields?
Authors: Preval, Simon P.
Barstow, Martin A.
Holberg, J. B.
Barrow, J. D.
Berengut, J. C.
Webb, J. K.
Dougan, D.
Hu, J.
First Published: Jun-2015
Publisher: Astronomical Society of the Pacific
Citation: Astronomical Society of the Pacific Conference Series, 2015, Volume 493 : 19th European Workshop on White Dwarfs, 415
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.
ISSN: 1050-3390
Version: Post-print
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © 2015 Astronomical Society of the Pacific. Deposited with reference to the publisher’s open access archiving policy, available at
Description: 4 pages, 2 figures: To appear in the proceedings of the "19th European White Dwarf Workshop" in Montreal, Canada, 2014
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Physics and Astronomy

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