KIC 7955301: a hierarchical triple system with eclipse timing variations and an oscillating red giant
KIC 7955301 is a hierarchical triple system with eclipse timing and depth variations discovered by the Kepler mission. It is composed of a non-eclipsing primary star at the bottom of the red giant branch on a 209-day orbit with a K/G-type main-sequence inner eclipsing binary, orbiting in 15.3 days. This system was noted for the large amplitude of its eclipse timing variations (4 hours), and the clear solar-like oscillations of the red-giant component, including p-modes of degree up to l=3 and mixed l=1 modes. The system is a single-lined spectroscopic triple. We perform a dynamical model by combining the Kepler photometric data, eclipse timing variations, and radial-velocity data obtained at Apache Point (ARCES) and Haute Provence (SOPHIE) observatories. The dynamical mass of the red-giant is determined with a 2% precision at 1.30 (+0.03,-0.02) solar mass. We perform asteroseismic modeling based on the global seismic parameters and on the individual frequencies. Both methods lead to a mass of the red giant that matches the dynamical mass within the uncertainties. Asteroseismology also reveals the rotation rate of the core (15 days), the envelope (150 days), and the inclination (75 deg) of the red giant. Three different approaches lead to an age between 3.3 and 5.8 Gyr, which highlights the difficulty of determining stellar ages despite the exceptional wealth of available information. On short timescales, the inner binary exhibits eclipses with varying depths during a 7.3-year long interval, and no eclipses during the consecutive 11.9 years. This is why Kepler could detect its eclipses, TESS will not, and the future ESA PLATO mission should. Over the long term, the system owes its evolution to the evolution of its individual components. It could end its current smooth evolution by merging by the end of the red giant or the asymptotic giant branch of the primary star.