911 research outputs found

    Interferometry, spectroscopy and astrometry of the bright eclipsing system Delta Velorum

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    The bright southern star Delta Vel is a multiple system comprising at least three stars. Its brightest component, Delta Vel A, was identified in 2000 as one of the brightest eclipsing system in the sky. Its eclipses are easily observable with the unaided eye, a remarkable property shared only by Algol, Beta Aur, Alpha CrB and Psi Cen. We determined dynamical masses from a combination of spectroscopy, high-precision astrometry of the orbits of Aab-B and Aa-Ab using adaptive optics (VLT/NACO) and optical interferometry (VLTI/AMBER). The main eclipsing component is a pair of A-type stars in rapid rotation. We modeled the photometric and radial velocity measurements of the eclipsing pair Aa-Ab using a self consistent method based on physical parameters (mass, radius, luminosity, rotational velocity). From this modeling, we derive the fundamental parameters of the eclipsing stars with a typical accuracy of 1%. We find that they have similar masses, respectively 2.43 +/- 0.02 and 2.27 +/- 0.02 Msun. The physical parameters of the tertiary component (Delta Vel B) are also derived, although to a lower accuracy, as well as the parallax of the system, 39.8 +/- 0.4 mas. This value is in satisfactory agreement (-1.2 sigma) with the Hipparcos parallax of the system (pi_Hip =40.5 +/- 0.4 mas).Comment: 4 pages, 5 figures, in GREAT-ESF Workshop 'Orbital Couples: "Pas de Deux" in the Solar System and the Milky Way', Paris, IMCCE proceedings, in pres

    The nearby AGB star L2 Puppis: the birth of a planetary nebula ?

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    Adaptive optics observations in the infrared (VLT/NACO, Kervella et al. 2014) and visible (VLT/SPHERE, Kervella et al. 2015) domains revealed that the nearby AGB star L2 Pup (d=64 pc) is surrounded by a dust disk seen almost edge-on. Thermal emission from a large dust "loop" is detected at 4 microns up to more than 10 AU from the star. We also detect a secondary source at a separation of 32 mas, whose nature is uncertain. L2 Pup is currently a relatively "young" AGB star, so we may witness the formation of a planetary nebula. The mechanism that breaks the spherical symmetry of mass loss is currently uncertain, but we propose that the dust disk and companion are key elements in the shaping of the bipolar structure. L2 Pup emerges as an important system to test this hypothesis.Comment: 6 pages, 3 figures, Proceedings of the Physics of Evolved Stars conference, 8-12 June 2015, Nice, Franc

    The angular sizes of dwarf stars and subgiants - Non-linear surface brightness relations in BVRcIc from interferometry

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    Context: The prediction of stellar angular diameters from broadband photometry plays an important role for different applications. In particular, long-baseline interferometry, gravitational microlensing, extrasolar planet transits, and many other observing techniques require accurate predictions of the angular size of stars. These predictions are based on the surface brightness-colour (SBC) relations. Aims: Our goal is to calibrate general-purpose SBC relations using visible colours, the most commonly available data for most stars. Methods: We compiled the existing long-baseline interferometric observations of nearby dwarf and subgiant stars and the corresponding broadband photometry in the Johnson B V and Cousins Rc Ic bands. We then adjusted polynomial SBC models to these data. Results: Due to the presence of spectral features that depend on the effective temperature, the SBC relations are usually not linear for visible colours. We present polynomial fits that can be employed with BVRcIc based colours to predict the limb-darkened angular diameters (i.e. photospheric) of dwarf and subgiant stars with a typical accuracy of 5%. Conclusions: The derived polynomial relations provide a satisfactory approximation to the observed surface brightness of nearby dwarfs and subgiants. For distant stars, the interstellar reddening should be taken into account, and will usually introduce an additional uncertainty to the predicted angular diameters.Comment: 5 pages, accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics. Astronomy and Astrophysics (2008) Accepte

    Deep imaging survey of the environment of Alpha Centauri - II. CCD imaging with the NTT-SUSI2 camera

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    Context: The nearby pair of solar-type stars Alpha Centauri is a favorable target for an imaging search for extrasolar planets. Indications exist that the gravitational mass of Alpha Cen B could be higher than its modeled mass, the difference being consistent with a substellar companion of a few tens of Jupiter masses. However, Alpha Centauri usually appears in star catalogues surrounded by a large void area, due to the strong diffused light. Aims: We searched for faint comoving companions to Alpha Cen located at angular distances of the order of a few tens of arcseconds, up to 2-3 arcmin. As a secondary objective, we built a catalogue of the detected background sources. Methods: In order to complement our adaptive optics search at small angular distances (Paper I), we used atmosphere limited CCD imaging from the NTT-SUSI2 instrument in the Bessel V, R, I, and Z bands. Results: We present the results of our search in the form of a catalogue of the detected objects inside a 5.5 arcmin box around this star. A total of 4313 sources down to mV~24 and mI~22 were detected from this wide-field survey. We extracted the infrared photometry of part of the detected sources from archive images of the 2MASS survey (JHK bands). We investigate briefly the nature of the detected sources, many of them presenting extremely red color indices (V-K > 14). Conclusions: We did not detect any companion to Alpha Centauri between 100 and 300 AU, down to a maximum mass of ~15 times Jupiter. We also mostly exclude the presence of a companion more massive than 30 MJup between 50 and 100 AU.Comment: Accepted for publication as a Research Note in A&

    Interferometric observations of eta Carinae with VINCI/VLTI

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    Context: The bright star eta Carinae is the most massive and luminous star in our region of the Milky Way. Though it has been extensively studied using many different techniques, its physical nature and the mechanism that led to the creation of the Homunculus nebula are still debated. Aims: We aimed at resolving the central engine of the eta Carinae complex in the near-infrared on angular scales of a few milliarcseconds. Methods: We used the VINCI instrument of the VLTI to recombine coherently the light from two telescopes in the K band. Results: We report a total of 142 visibility measurements of eta Car, part of which were analyzed by Van Boekel et al. (2003). These observations were carried out on projected baselines ranging from 8 to 112 meters in length, using either two 0.35 m siderostats or two 8-meter Unit Telescopes. These observations cover the November 2001 - January 2004 period. Conclusions: The reported visibility data are in satisfactory agreement with the recent results obtained with AMBER/VLTI by Weigelt et al. (2006), asuming that the flux of eta Car encircled within 70 mas reaches 56% of the total flux within 1400 mas, in the K band. We also confirm that the squared visibility curve of eta Car as a function of spatial frequency follows closely an exponential model.Comment: Accepted for publication in A&A as a Research not

    The environment of the fast rotating star Achernar - Thermal infrared interferometry with VLTI/MIDI and SIMECA modeling

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    Context: As is the case of several other Be stars, Achernar is surrounded by an envelope, recently detected by near-IR interferometry. Aims: We search for the signature of circumstellar emission at distances of a few stellar radii from Achernar, in the thermal IR domain. Methods: We obtained interferometric observations on three VLTI baselines in the N band (8-13 mic), using the MIDI instrument. Results: From the measured visibilities, we derive the angular extension and flux contribution of the N band circumstellar emission in the polar direction of Achernar. The interferometrically resolved polar envelope contributes 13.4 +/- 2.5 % of the photospheric flux in the N band, with a full width at half maximum of 9.9 +/- 2.3 mas (~ 6 Rstar). This flux contribution is in good agreement with the photometric IR excess of 10-20% measured by fitting the spectral energy distribution. Due to our limited azimuth coverage, we can only establish an upper limit of 5-10% for the equatorial envelope. We compare the observed properties of the envelope with an existing model of this star computed with the SIMECA code. Conclusions: The observed extended emission in the thermal IR along the polar direction of Achernar is well reproduced by the existing SIMECA model. Already detected at 2.2mic, this polar envelope is most probably an observational signature of the fast wind ejected by the hot polar caps of the star.Comment: A&A Letter, in pres

    Data reduction methods for single-mode optical interferometry - Application to the VLTI two-telescopes beam combiner VINCI

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    The interferometric data processing methods that we describe in this paper use a number of innovative techniques. In particular, the implementation of the wavelet transform allows us to obtain a good immunity of the fringe processing to false detections and large amplitude perturbations by the atmospheric piston effect, through a careful, automated selection of the interferograms. To demonstrate the data reduction procedure, we describe the processing and calibration of a sample of stellar data from the VINCI beam combiner. Starting from the raw data, we derive the angular diameter of the dwarf star Alpha Cen A. Although these methods have been developed specifically for VINCI, they are easily applicable to other single-mode beam combiners, and to spectrally dispersed fringes.Comment: Accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics, 17 pages, 19 figure

    Cepheid distances from infrared long-baseline interferometry - I. VINCI/VLTI observations of seven Galactic Cepheids

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    We report the angular diameter measurements of seven classical Cepheids (X Sgr, eta Aql, W Sgr, zeta Gem, beta Dor, Y Oph and L Car) that we have obtained with the VINCI instrument, installed at ESO's VLT Interferometer (VLTI). We also present reprocessed archive data obtained with the FLUOR/IOTA instrument on zeta Gem, in order to improve the phase coverage of our observations. We obtain average limb darkened angular diameter values of LD(X Sgr) = 1.471 +/- 0.033 mas, LD(eta Aql) = 1.839 +/- 0.028 mas, LD(W Sgr) = 1.312 +/- 0.029 mas, LD(beta Dor) = 1.891 +/- 0.024 mas, LD(zeta Gem) =1.747 +/- 0.061 mas, LD(Y Oph) = 1.437 +/- 0.040 mas and LD(L Car) = 2.988 +/- 0.012 mas. For four of these stars (eta Aql, W Sgr, beta Dor, and L Car) we detect the pulsational variation of their angular diameter. This enables us to compute directly their distances, using a modified version of the Baade-Wesselink method: d(eta Aql) = 276 [+55 -38] pc, d(W Sgr) = 379 [+216 -130] pc, d(beta Dor) = 345 [+175 -80] pc, d(L Car) = 603 [+24 -19] pc. The stated error bars are statistical in nature. Applying a hybrid method, that makes use of the Gieren et al. (1998) Period-Radius relation to estimate the linear diameters, we obtain the following distances (statistical and systematic error bars are mentioned): d(X Sgr) = 324 +/- 7 +/- 17 pc, d(eta Aql) = 264 +/- 4 +/- 14 pc, d(W Sgr) = 386 +/- 9 +/- 21 pc, d(beta Dor) = 326 +/- 4 +/- 19 pc, d(zeta Gem) = 360 +/- 13 +/- 22 pc, d(Y Oph) = 648 +/- 17 +/- 47 pc and d(L Car) = 542 +/- 2 +/- 49 pc.Comment: 16 pages, 12 figures, accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysic

    Binary Cepheids from optical interferometry

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    Classical Cepheid stars have been considered since more than a century as reliable tools to estimate distances in the universe thanks to their Period-Luminosity (P-L) relationship. Moreover, they are also powerful astrophysical laboratories, providing fundamental clues for studying the pulsation and evolution of intermediate-mass stars. When in binary systems, we can investigate the age and evolution of the Cepheid, estimate the mass and distance, and constrain theoretical models. However, most of the companions are located too close to the Cepheid (1-40 mas) to be spatially resolved with a 10-meter class telescope. The only way to spatially resolve such systems is to use long-baseline interferometry. Recently, we have started a unique and long-term interferometric program that aims at detecting and characterizing physical parameters of the Cepheid companions, with as main objectives the determination of accurate masses and geometric distances.Comment: 8 pages, Proceeding of the conference "Setting a new standard in the analysis of binary stars", September 2013, Leuven, Belgiu