I concisely review the history, applications, and recent developments pertaining to radial velocity (RV) observations of classical pulsating stars. The focus lies on type-I (classical) Cepheids, although the historical overview and most technical aspects are also relevant for RR Lyrae stars and type-II Cepheids. The presence and impact of velocity gradients and different experimental setups on measured RV variability curves are discussed in some detail. Among the recent developments, modulated spectral line variability results in modulated RV curves that represent an issue for Baade-Wesselink-type distances and the detectability of spectroscopic companions, as well as challenges for stellar models. Spectral line asymmetry (BIS) provides a useful tool for identifying modulated spectral variability due to perturbations of velocity gradients. The imminent increase in number of pulsating stars observed with time series RVs by Gaia and ever increasing RV zero-point stability hold great promise for high-precision velocimetry to continue to provide new insights into stellar pulsations and their interactions with atmospheres.
Thu, 7 Dec 17
Comments: 8 pages, 3 figures. Invited review given at the 2017 RR Lyrae conference “Revival of the classical pulsators: from Galactic structure to stellar interior diagnostics” held in Niepolomice, Poland 17-21 September 2017