Astronomy and Astrophysics, volume 503, 973-984 (2009/9-1)
Atmospheric velocity fields in tepid main sequence stars.
LANDSTREET J.D., KUPKA F., FORD H.A., OFFICER T., SIGUT T.A.A., SILAJ J., STRASSER S. and TOWNSHEND A.
Abstract (from CDS):
The line profiles of the stars with vesini below a few km/s can reveal direct signatures of local velocity fields such as convection in stellar atmospheres. This effect is well established in cool main sequence stars, and has been detected and studied in three A stars. This paper reports observations of main sequence B, A and F stars (1) to identify additional stars with sufficiently low values of vesini to search for spectral line profile signatures of local velocity fields and (2) to explore how the signatures of the local velocity fields in the atmosphere depend on stellar parameters such as effective temperature and peculiarity type. We have carried out a spectroscopic survey of B and A stars of low vesini at high resolution. Comparison of model spectra with those observed allows us to detect signatures of the local velocity fields such as asymmetric excess line wing absorption, best-fit vesini parameter values that are found to be larger for strong lines than for weak lines, and discrepancies between observed and modelled line profile shapes. Symptoms of local atmospheric velocity fields are always detected through a non-zero microturbulence parameter for main sequence stars having Te below about 10000K, but not for hotter stars. Direct line profile tracers of the atmospheric velocity field are found in six very sharp-lined stars in addition to the three reported earlier. Direct signatures of velocity fields are found to occur in A stars with and without the Am chemical peculiarities, although the amplitude of the effects seems larger in Am stars. Velocity fields are also directly detected in spectral line profiles of A and early F supergiants, but without significant line asymmetries. We confirm that several atmospheric velocity field signatures, particularly excess line wing absorption which is stronger in the blue line wing than in the red, are detectable in the spectral lines of main sequence A stars of sufficiently low ve sin i. We triple the sample of A stars known to show these effects, which are found both in Am and normal A stars. We argue that the observed line distortions are probably due to convective motions reaching the atmosphere. These data still have not been satisfactorily explained by models of atmospheric convection, including numerical simulations.
convection - stars: atmospheres - stars: chemically peculiar - stars: abundances - stars: rotation - line: profiles
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