Volume 366, Number 3, February II 2001
|Page(s)||935 - 944|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||15 February 2001|
Simultaneous H and photometric observations of P Cygni
Institute of Astronomy and Isaac Newton Institute of Chile Bulgarian Branch, Bulgarian National Astronomical Observatory, PO Box 136, 4700 Smoljan, Bulgaria
2 Osservatorio Astrofisico di Catania, Viale A. Doria 6, 95125, Catania, Italy
3 Armagh Observatory College Hill, Armagh, BT61 9DG, Northern Ireland
4 Space Telescope Science Institute, 3700 San Martin Drive, Baltimore, MD 21218, USA
5 On assignment from the Space Science Department of ESA
Accepted: 23 November 2000
For the first time an extensive set of (quasi-) simultaneous photometric (UBV) and spectroscopic (Hα line profiles) observations of P Cygni, covering a period from May, 1990 to June, 1994 was analyzed in terms of time variability. It is found that the Hα equivalent width (EW) exhibits two different patterns of variability: a slower one, called Long-Term (LT) variability, with an amplitude of about 30 Åand a characteristic duration of about 600 days and a faster one, called Short-Term (ST) variability, with an amplitude up to 10 Åand duration of 40 to 60 days. Suggestive evidence for EW variation on a longer time scale (about few years) also exists. The variations in the Hα luminosity are not solely due to changes in the underlying continuum but also reflect variations in the physical properties of the wind. We find, in terms of a simplified spherically-symmetric wind model, that the LT variation of the line can be successfully explained in terms of a 26% alteration of the mass-loss rate, possibly accompanied by variations in the velocity field. From the analysis of the photometric behaviour of the star we find evidence for a very slow variation in the stellar brightness with an amplitude of about 0.13 mag and a duration of about 2600 days, i.e. about 7 years. During this variation, i.e. when the star brightens, the effective temperature decreases (by about 10% ) and the radius increases (by about 7% ). The properties of this Very Long Term (VLT) variation suggest that P Cygni has probably experienced a normal S Dor-type variation with a minimum phase around 1988 and a maximum phase in 1992. Some hints for a positive correlation between mass loss variations and changes in the stellar radius, due to the normal SD variability, do exist implying that the behaviour of P Cygni is more likely similar to that of R71 and S Dor but different from e.g. AG Car, R127 and HD 160529. Superimposed on the VLT component in the photometric variability of P Cygni, we observe ST brightness variations with an amplitude between 0.1 and 0.2 mag which appears to recur on a time scale of three to four months. The colour behaviour of these microvariations, at least of those which appear near the maximum phase of the VLT variation, is redder in and bluer in when the star brightens in V. The properties of this ST photometric variability are similar to the properties of the so-called "100 d-type micro-variations", recognized in other LBVs by van Genderen et al. ([CITE],b). Based on time-scale evidences we suggest that the microvariabilities observed are rather due to "relaxation oscillations"(Stothers & Chin [CITE]) than to strange-mode oscillations in the stellar interior. Evidence for a close relationship between ST variations in Hα and changes in the stellar brightness and temperature is found. From other results about P Cygni's spectral variations (Markova [CITE]), we conclude that the ST variability of the wind is most likely connected with processes in the stellar photosphere.
Key words: stars: early type / stars: atmosphere / stars: mass loss / stars: individual: P Cyg
© ESO, 2001
Current usage metrics show cumulative count of Article Views (full-text article views including HTML views, PDF and ePub downloads, according to the available data) and Abstracts Views on Vision4Press platform.
Data correspond to usage on the plateform after 2015. The current usage metrics is available 48-96 hours after online publication and is updated daily on week days.
Initial download of the metrics may take a while.