Cyclic variability of the circumstellar disk of the Be star ζ Tauri
II. Testing the 2D global disk oscillation model
Instituto de Astronomia, Geofísica e Ciências Atmosféricas, Universidade de São Paulo, Rua do Matão 1226, Cidade Universitária, São Paulo, SP 05508-900, Brazil e-mail: email@example.com
2 Faculty of Engineering, Hokkai-Gakuen University, Toyohira-ku, Sapporo 062-8605, Japan
3 ESO - European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
4 ESO - European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
5 University of Toledo, Department of Physics & Astronomy, MS111 2801 W. Bancroft Street Toledo, OH 43606, USA
Accepted: 6 January 2009
Context. About 2/3 of the Be stars present the so-called variations, a phenomenon characterized by the quasi-cyclic variation in the ratio between the violet and red emission peaks of the emission lines. These variations are generally explained by global oscillations in the circumstellar disk forming a one-armed spiral density pattern that precesses around the star with a period of a few years.
Aims. This paper presents self-consistent models of polarimetric, photometric, spectrophotometric, and interferometric observations of the classical Be star ζ Tauri. The primary goal is to conduct a critical quantitative test of the global oscillation scenario.
Methods. Detailed three-dimensional, NLTE radiative transfer calculations were carried out using the radiative transfer code HDUST. The most up-to-date research on Be stars was used as input for the code in order to include a physically realistic description for the central star and the circumstellar disk. The model adopts a rotationally deformed, gravity darkened central star, surrounded by a disk whose unperturbed state is given by a steady-state viscous decretion disk model. It is further assumed that this disk is in vertical hydrostatic equilibrium.
Results. By adopting a viscous decretion disk model for ζ Tauri and a rigorous solution of the radiative transfer, a very good fit of the time-average properties of the disk was obtained. This provides strong theoretical evidence that the viscous decretion disk model is the mechanism responsible for disk formation. The global oscillation model successfully fitted spatially resolved VLTI/AMBER observations and the temporal variations in the Hα and Brγ lines. This result convincingly demonstrates that the oscillation pattern in the disk is a one-armed spiral. Possible model shortcomings, as well as suggestions for future improvements, are also discussed.
Key words: polarization / methods: numerical / stars: emission-line, Be / stars: individual: ζ Tauri / techniques: interferometric
© ESO, 2009