skip to main content

Search for: All records

Award ID contains: 1814777

Note: When clicking on a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) number, you will be taken to an external site maintained by the publisher. Some full text articles may not yet be available without a charge during the embargo (administrative interval).
What is a DOI Number?

Some links on this page may take you to non-federal websites. Their policies may differ from this site.

  1. Abstract

    The cool hypergiant star RW Cephei is currently in a deep photometric minimum that began several years ago. This event bears a strong similarity to the Great Dimming of the red supergiant Betelgeuse that occurred in 2019–2020. We present the first resolved images of RW Cephei that we obtained with the CHARA Array interferometer. The angular diameter and Gaia distance estimates indicate a stellar radius of 900–1760R, which makes RW Cephei one of the largest stars known in the Milky Way. The reconstructed, near-infrared images show a striking asymmetry in the disk illumination with a bright patch offset from the center and a darker zone to the west. The imaging results depend on assumptions made about the extended flux, and we present two cases with and without allowing extended emission. We also present a recent near-infrared spectrum of RW Cep that demonstrates that the fading is much larger at visual wavelengths compared to that at near-infrared wavelengths as expected for extinction by dust. We suggest that the star’s dimming is the result of a recent surface mass ejection event that created a dust cloud that now partially blocks the stellar photosphere.

    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    We presentH-band interferometric observations of the red supergiant (RSG) AZ Cyg that were made with the Michigan Infra-Red Combiner (MIRC) at the six-telescope Center for High Angular Resolution Astronomy (CHARA) Array. The observations span 5 yr (2011–2016), which offers insight into the short and long-term evolution of surface features on RSGs. Using a spectrum of AZ Cyg obtained with SpeX on the NASA InfraRed Telescope Facility (IRTF) and synthetic spectra calculated from spherical MARCS, spherical PHOENIX, and SAtlas model atmospheres, we deriveTeffis between 3972 K and 4000 K andloggbetween −0.50 and 0.00, depending on the stellar model used. Using fits to the squared visibility and GAIA parallaxes, we measure its average radiusR=91150+57R. Reconstructions of the stellar surface using our model-independent imaging codes SQUEEZE and OITOOLS.jl show a complex surface with small bright features that appear to vary on a timescale of less than one year and larger features that persist for more than one year. The 1D power spectra of these images suggest a characteristic size of 0.52–0.69Rfor the larger, long lived features. This is close to the values of 0.51–0.53Rthat are derived from 3D RHD models of stellar surfaces. We conclude that interferometric imaging of this star is in line with predictions of 3D RHD models but that short-term imaging is needed to more stringently test predictions of convection in RSGs.

    more » « less
  3. Aims: We present a detailed long-term study of the single M6 III giant RZ Ari to obtain direct and simultaneous measurements of the magnetic field, activity indicators, and radial velocity in order to infer the origin of its activity. We study its magnetic activity in the context of stellar evolution, and for this purpose, we also refined its evolutionary status and Li abundance. In general, for the M giants, little is known about the properties of the magnetic activity and its causes. RZ Ari possess the strongest surface magnetic field of the known Zeeman-detected M giants and is bright enough to allow a deep study of its surface magnetic structure. The results are expected to shed light on the activity mechanism in these stars.

    Methods: We used the spectropolarimeter Narval at the Télescope Bernard Lyot (Observatoire du Pic du Midi, France) to obtain a series of Stokes I and V profiles for RZ Ari. Using the least-squares deconvolution technique, we were able to detect the Zeeman signature of the magnetic field. We measured its longitudinal component by means of the averaged Stokes I and V profiles. In addition, we also applied Zeeman-Doppler imaging (ZDI) to search for the rotation period of the star, and we constructed a tentative magnetic map. It is the first magnetic map for a star that evolved at the tip of red giant branch (RGB) or even on the asymptotic giant branch (AGB). The spectra also allowed us to monitor chromospheric emission lines, which are well-known indicators of stellar magnetic activity. From the observations obtained between September 2010 and August 2019, we studied the variability of the magnetic field of RZ Ari. We also redetermined the initial mass and evolutionary status of this star based on current stellar evolutionary tracks and on the angular diameter measured from CHARA interferometry. Results: Our results point to an initial mass of 1.5Mso that this giant is more likely an early-AGB star, but a lotaction at the tip of the RGB is not completely excluded. With a v sin i of 6.0 ±0.5 km s−1, the upper limit for the rotation period is found to be 909 days. On the basis of our dataset and AAVSO photometric data, we determined periods longer than 1100 days for the magnetic field and photometric variability, and 704 days for the spectral line activity indicators. The rotation period determined on the basis of the Stokes V profiles variability is 530 days. A similar period of 544 days is also found for the photometric data. When we take this rotation period and the convective turnover time into account, an effective action of an α-ω type dynamo seems to be unlikely, but other types of dynamo could be operating there. The star appears to lie outside the two magnetic strips on the giant branches, where the α-ω-type dynamo is expected to operate effectively, and it also has a much higher lithium content than the evolutionary model predicts. These facts suggest that a planet engulfment could speed up its rotation and trigger dynamo-driven magnetic activity. On the other hand, the period of more than 1100 days cannot be explained by rotational modulation and could be explained by the lifetime of large convective structures. The absence of linear polarization at the time the magnetic field was detected, however, suggests that a local dynamo probably does not contribute significantly to the magnetic field, at least for that time interval. 
    more » « less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  4. null (Ed.)