1 Astronomický ústav, Akademie věd České republiky, Fričova 298, 251 65 Ondřejov, Czech Republic
2 Department of Astronomy, Faculty of Mathematics, University of Belgrade, Studentski trg 16, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
Received: 30 March 2012
Accepted: 19 May 2012
Context. Photospheric lines of B-type supergiants show variability in their profile shapes. In addition, their widths are much wider than can be accounted for purely by stellar rotation. This excess broadening is often referred to as macroturbulence. Both effects have been linked to stellar oscillations, but B supergiants have not been systematically searched yet for the presence of especially short-term variability caused by stellar pulsations.
Aims. We have started an observational campaign to investigate the line profile variability of photospheric lines in a sample of Galactic B supergiants. These observations aim to improve our understanding of the physical effects acting in the atmospheres of evolved massive stars.
Methods. We obtained four time-series of high-quality optical spectra for the Galactic B supergiant HD 202850. The spectral coverage of about 500 Å around Hα encompasses the Si ii λλ6347,6371, and the He i λ6678 photospheric lines. The line profiles were analysed by means of the moment method.
Results. The time-series of the photospheric Si ii and He i lines display a simultaneous, periodic variability in their profile shapes. Proper analysis revealed a period of 1.59 h in all three lines. This period is found to be stable with time over the observed span of 19 months. This period is much shorter than the rotation period of the star and might be ascribed to stellar oscillations. Since the star seems to fall outside the currently known pulsational instability domains, the nature of the discovered oscillation remains unclear.
Key words: stars: early-type / supergiants / stars: atmospheres / stars: oscillations / stars: individual: HD 202850
Reduced spectra are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (22.214.171.124) or via http://cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr/viz-bin/qcat?J/A+A/542/L32
© ESO, 2012