Volume 540, April 2012
|Number of page(s)||12|
|Section||Interstellar and circumstellar matter|
|Published online||28 March 2012|
New activity in the large circumstellar disk of the Be-shell star 48 Librae⋆
1 European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
2 UJF-Grenoble 1/CNRS-INSU, Institut de Planétologie et d’Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG) UMR 5274, Grenoble, France
3 Instituto de Astronomia, Geofísica e Ciências Atmosféricas, Universidade de São Paulo, Rua do Matão 1226, Cidade Universitária, São Paulo, SP 05508-900, Brazil
4 European Organisation for Astronomical Research in the Southern Hemisphere, Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching bei München, Germany
5 Gemini Observatory, Southern Operations Center, c/o AURA, Casilla 603, La Serena, Chile
Received: 8 September 2011
Accepted: 5 February 2012
Aims. Spectroscopic, polarimetric, and high spectral resolution interferometric data covering the period 1995–2011 are analyzed to document the transition into a new phase of circumstellar disk activity in the classical Be-shell star 48 Lib. The objective is to use this broad data set to additionally test disk oscillations as the basic underlying dynamical process.
Methods. The long-term disk evolution is described using the V/R ratio of the violet and red emission components of Hα and Brγ, radial velocities and profiles of He i and optical metal shell lines, as well as multi-band BVRI polarimetry. Single-epoch broad-band and high-resolution interferometric visibilities and phases are discussed with respect to a classical disk model and the given baseline orientations.
Results. Spectroscopic signatures of disk asymmetries in 48 Lib vanished in the late nineties but recovered some time between 2004 and 2007, as shown by a new large-amplitude and long-duration V/R cycle. Variations in the radial velocity and line profile of conventional shell lines correlate with the V/R behavior. They are shared by narrow absorption cores superimposed on otherwise seemingly photospheric He i lines, which may form in high-density gas at the inner disk close to the photosphere. Large radial velocity variations continued also during the V/R-quiet years, suggesting that V/R may not always be a good indicator of global density waves in the disk. The comparison of the polarization after the recovery of the V/R activity shows a slight increase, while the polarization angle has been constant for more than 20 years, placing tight limits on any 3-D precession or warping of the disk. The broad H-band interferometry gives a disk diameter of (1.72 ± 0.2) mas (equivalent to 15 stellar radii), position angle of the disk (50 ± 9)° and a relatively low disk flattening of 1.66 ± 0.3. Within the errors the same disk position angle is derived from polarimetric observations and from photocenter shifts across Brγ. The high-resolution interferometric visibility and phase profiles show a double or even multiple-component structure. A preliminary estimate based on the size of the Brγ emitting region indicates a large diameter for the disk (tens of stellar radii). Overall, no serious contradiction between the observations and the disk-oscillation model could be construed.
Key words: techniques: spectroscopic / circumstellar matter / techniques: interferometric / stars: mass-loss / techniques: polarimetric / stars: emission-line, Be
© ESO, 2012
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