HD 96446: a puzzle for current models of magnetospheres?⋆
LESIA, Observatoire de Paris, CNRS UMR 8109, UPMC, Université Paris
Diderot, 5 place Jules
2 Department of Physics & Astronomy, The University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, N6A 3K7, Canada
3 Armagh Observatory, College Hill, BT61 9DG Armagh, Northern Ireland
4 Bartol Research Institute, University of Delaware, Newark, DE 19716, USA
5 Department Physics and Astronomy, Uppsala University, Box 516, 751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
6 Dominion Astrophysical Observatory, Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, National Research Council of Canada, West Saanich Road 5071, Victoria, BC V9E 2E7, Canada
Received: 8 February 2012
Accepted: 3 August 2012
Context. Oblique magnetic dipole fields have been detected in Bp stars for several decades, and more recently also in normal massive stars. In the past decade, it has been established that stellar magnetospheres form through the channelling and confinement of an outflowing stellar wind by the stellar magnetic field. This explains specific properties of magnetic massive stars, such as their rotationally modulated photometric light curve, Hα emission, UV spectra, and X-ray emission.
Aims. In the framework of the MiMeS (Magnetism in Massive Stars) project, four HARPSpol observations of the magnetic Bp star HD 96446 have been obtained. HD 96446 is very similar to σ Ori E, the prototype of centrifugally supported rigidly rotating magnetospheres (CM) and is therefore a perfect target to study the validity of this model.
Methods. We first updated the basic parameters of HD 96446 and studied its spectral variability. We then analysed the HARPSpol spectropolarimetric observations using the LSD (Least-Squares Deconvolution) technique to derive the longitudinal magnetic field and Zeeman signatures in various types of lines. With LTE spectrum modelling, we derived constraints on the field modulus, the rotational velocity, and the inclination angle, and measured non-solar abundances of several elements which we checked with NLTE modelling. Finally, we calculated the magnetic confinement and Alfvén and Kepler radii from the stellar magnetic field and rotation properties, and we examined the various types of magnetospheres that may be present around HD 96446.
Results. We find radial velocity variations with a period around 2.23 h, that we attribute to β Cep-type p-mode pulsations. We detect clear direct magnetic Stokes V signatures with slightly varying values of the longitudinal magnetic field, typical of an oblique dipole rotator, and show that these signatures are not much perturbed by the radial velocity variations. The magnetic confinement parameter and Alfvén radius in the centrifugally supported, rigidly-rotating magnetosphere (CM) model points towards the presence of confined material in the magnetosphere. However, HD 96446 does not present signatures of the presence of such confined material, such as Hα emission.
Conclusions. We conclude that, even though HD 96446 fulfills all criteria to host a CM with confined material, it does not. The rotation period must be significantly revised, or another model of magnetosphere with a leakage mechanism will need to be developed to explain the magnetic environment of this star.
Key words: stars: magnetic field / stars: early-type / stars: individual: HD 96446 / stars: fundamental parameters / stars: abundances / stars: winds, outflows
© ESO, 2012