Volume 525, January 2011
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||02 December 2010|
An investigation of the close environment of β Cephei with the VEGA/CHARA interferometer
Laboratoire Fizeau, UNS/OCA/CNRS UMR6525,
Nice Cedex 2,
2 Université de Lyon, 69003 Lyon, France; Université Lyon 1, Observatoire de Lyon, 9 avenue Charles André, 69230 Saint Genis Laval, France ; CNRS/UMR 5574, Centre de Recherche Astroph. de Lyon, École Normale Supérieure, 69007 Lyon, France
3 Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Toulouse-Tarbes, Université de Toulouse, CNRS, 57 Avenue d’Azereix, 65000 Tarbes, France
4 Laboratoire d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (LAOG), Université Joseph-Fourier, UMR 5571 CNRS, BP 53, 38041 Grenoble Cedex 09, France
5 Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie, Auf dem Hügel 69, 53121 Bonn, Germany
6 Georgia State University, PO Box 3969, Atlanta GA 30302-3969, USA
7 CHARA Array, Mount Wilson Observatory, 91023 Mount Wilson CA, USA
Accepted: 21 September 2010
Context. High-precision interferometric measurements of pulsating stars help to characterize their close environment. In 1974, a close companion was discovered around the pulsating star β Cep using the speckle interferometry technique, and features at the limit of resolution (20 milli-arcsec or mas) of the instrument were mentioned that may be due to circumstellar material. β Cep has a magnetic field that might be responsible for a spherical shell or ring-like structure around the star as described by the MHD models.
Aims. Using the visible recombiner VEGA installed on the CHARA long-baseline interferometer at Mt. Wilson, we aim to determine the angular diameter of β Cep and resolve its close environment with a spatial resolution up to 1 mas level.
Methods. Medium spectral resolution (R = 6000) observations of β Cep were secured with the VEGA instrument over the years 2008 and 2009. These observations were performed with the S1S2 (30 m) and W1W2 (100 m) baselines of the array.
Results. We investigated several models to reproduce our observations. A large-scale structure of a few mas is clearly detected around the star with a typical flux relative contribution of 0.23 ± 0.02. Our best model is a co-rotational geometrical thin ring around the star as predicted by magnetically-confined wind shock models. The ring inner diameter is 8.2 ± 0.8 mas and the width is 0.6 ± 0.7 mas. The orientation of the rotation axis on the plane of the sky is PA = 60 ± 1 deg, while the best fit of the mean angular diameter of β Cep gives ΦUD[V] = 0.22 ± 0.05 mas. Our data are compatible with the predicted position of the close companion of β Cep.
Conclusions. These results bring additional constraints on the fundamental parameters and on the future MHD and asteroseismological models of the star.
Key words: techniques: interferometric / circumstellar matter / stars: oscillations / stars: individual:β Cephei
© ESO, 2010
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