EDP Sciences
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Volume 445, Number 2, January II 2006
Page(s) 661 - 671
Section Stellar atmospheres
DOI http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20042102

A&A 445, 661-671 (2006)
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20042102

Hydrodynamical simulations of convection-related stellar micro-variability

I. Statistical relations for photometric and photocentric variability
H.-G. Ludwig1, 2

1  Lund Observatory, Lund University, Box 43, 22100 Lund, Sweden
2  GEPI, CIFIST, Observatoire de Paris-Meudon, 5 place Jules Janssen, 92195 Meudon Cedex, France
    e-mail: Hans.Ludwig@obspm.fr

(Received 1 October 2004 / Accepted 19 August 2005 )

Local-box hydrodynamical model atmospheres provide statistical information about the spatial dependence, as well as temporal evolution, of a star's emergent radiation field. Here, we consider late-type stellar atmospheres for which temporal changes of the radiative output are primarily related to convective (granular) surface flows. We derived relations for evaluating the granulation-induced, disk-integrated thus observable fluctuations of the stellar brightness and location of the photocenter from radiation intensities available from a local model. Apart from their application in the context of hydrodynamical stellar atmospheres, these formulae provide some broader insight into the nature of the fluctuations under consideration. Brightness fluctuations scale inversely proportional to the square root of the number of convective cells (the statistically independently radiating surface elements) present on the stellar surface and increase with more pronounced limb-darkening. Fluctuations of the stellar photocentric position do not depend on the number of cells and are largely insensitive to the degree of limb-darkening. They amount to a small fraction of the typical cell size, and can become a limiting factor for high-precision astrometry in the case of extreme giants. The temporal brightness and positional fluctuations are statistically uncorrelated but closely related in magnitude.

Key words: convection -- hydrodynamics -- radiative transfer -- methods: numerical -- stars: atmospheres -- stars: late-type

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