Collective pulsational velocity broadening due to gravity modes as a physical explanation for macroturbulence in hot massive stars
Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200D, 3001 Leuven, Belgium e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
2 IMAPP, Department of Astrophysics, Radboud University Nijmegen, PO Box 9010, 6500 GL Nijmegen, the Netherlands
3 Universitäts-Sternwarte, Scheinerstrasse 1, 81679 München, Germany
4 Institut d'Astrophysique et Géophysique, Université de Liège, allée du Six Août 17, 4000 Liège, Belgium
Accepted: 17 September 2009
Aims. We aimed at finding a physical explanation for the occurrence of macroturbulence in the atmospheres of hot massive stars, a phenomenon found in observations for more than a decade but that remains unexplained.
Methods. We computed time series of line profiles for evolved massive stars broadened by rotation and by hundreds of low-amplitude nonradial gravity-mode pulsations which are predicted to be excited for evolved massive stars.
Results. In general, line profiles based on macrotubulent broadening can mimic those subject to pulsational broadening. In several cases, though, good fits require macroturbulent velocities that pass the speed of sound for realistic pulsation amplitudes. Moreover, we find that the rotation velocity can be seriously underestimated by using a simple parameter description for macroturbulence rather than an appropriate pulsational model description to fit the line profiles.
Conclusions. We conclude that macroturbulence is a likely signature of the collective effect of pulsations. We provide line diagnostics and their typical values to decide whether or not pulsational broadening is present in observed line profiles, as well as a procedure to avoid an inaccurate estimation of the rotation velocity.
Key words: line: profiles / techniques: spectroscopic / stars: atmospheres / supergiants / stars: early-type / stars: variables: general
© ESO, 2009