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Paper: The Circumstellar Environment of Rigel Probed at High Spatial and Spectral Resolution
Volume: 464, Circumstellar Dynamics at High Resolution
Page: 35
Authors: Kaufer, A.; Chesneau, O.; Stahl, O.; Colvinter, C.; Spang, A.; Dessart, L.; Prinja, R.; Kaufer, a. R. C.; Chesneau, A.; Stahl, O.; Colvinter, O.; Spang, C.; Dessart, A.; Prinja, L.; Chini, R.; R.
Abstract: The presence of highly structured circumstellar environments in late B- and early A-type supergiants is well established through extensive spectroscopic, photometric, and polarimetric time series observations. The circumstellar structures are located within a few stellar radii in the transition zone from the stellar photosphere to the inner wind region of the expanding envelopes of the stars. The physical mechanisms that generate the observed circumstellar structures remain subject of debate. Coupling of stellar surface structures into the inner wind regions combined with rotational modulation is generally favoured with the surface structure being results of multi-mode non-radial pulsation patterns or complex magnetic fields structures. However, little observational evidence is available to narrow down the underlying mechanisms. Optical and near-IR interferometry at high spectral resolution has high potential to shed new light on the circumstellar environments of massive supergiants. We present first results from spectro-interferometric studies of the prototypical late-B supergiant Rigel (β Orionis, B8 Ia). Rigel has for the first time been monitored over several rotational cycles with the AMBER 3-beam combiner instrument at the VLTI in 2006–2007 and 2009–2010. The observations targeted the photosphere- and wind-sensitive Brγ line at a resolving power of R=12 000. The analysis of the measured interferometric visibilities provides constraints on the extension of the line-forming region in photosphere and wind; the observed variability of the differential phases across the line profile gives indications on the dynamics and the geometry of the circumstellar structures of Rigel. A possible link between high-velocity absorptions (HVA) and the observed S-shaped signals in the differential phases is discussed.
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