The peculiar fast-rotating star 51 Oph probed by VEGA/CHARA [EPA]

Stellar rotation is a key in our understanding of both mass-loss and evolution of intermediate and massive stars. It can lead to anisotropic mass-loss in the form of radiative wind or an excretion disk. We wished to spatially resolve the photosphere and gaseous environment of 51 Oph, a peculiar star with a very high vsin(i) of 267km s$^{-1}$ and an evolutionary status that remains unsettled. It has been classified by different authors as a Herbig, a $\beta$ Pic, or a classical Be star. We used the VEGA visible beam combiner installed on the CHARA array that reaches a submilliarcsecond resolution. Observation were centered on the H$\alpha$ emission line. We derived, for the first time, the extension and flattening of 51 Oph photosphere. We found a major axis of $\theta_{{\mathrm{eq}}}$=8.08$\pm$0.70$R_\odot$ and a minor axis of $\theta_{{\mathrm{pol}}}$=5.66$\pm$0.23$R_\odot$ .
This high photosphere distortion shows that the star is rotating close to its critical velocity. Finally, using spectro-interferometric measurements in the H$ \alpha$ line, we constrained the circumstellar environment geometry and kinematics and showed that the emission is produced in a 5.2$\pm$2R$_{*}$ disk in Keplerian rotation. From the visible point of view, 51 Oph presents all the features of a classical Be star: near critical-rotation and double-peaked H$\alpha $ line in emission produced in a gaseous disk in Keplerian rotation. However, this does not explain the presence of dust as seen in the mid-infrared and millimeter spectra, and the evolutionary status of 51 Oph remains unsettled.

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N. Jamialahmadi, P. Berio, A. Meilland, et. al.
Fri, 15 Sep 17

Comments: Published in A&A Letter. 5 pages, 3 figures, 3 tables