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Fundamental properties and atmospheric structure of the red supergiant VY CMa based on VLTI/AMBER spectro-interferometry  [PDF]
M. Wittkowski,P. H. Hauschildt,B. Arroyo Torres,J. M. Marcaide
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201219126
Abstract: We investigate the atmospheric structure and fundamental properties of the red supergiant VY CMa. We obtained near-infrared spectro-interferometric observations of VY CMa with spectral resolutions of 35 and 1500 using the AMBER instrument at the VLTI. The visibility data indicate the presence of molecular layers of water vapor and CO in the extended atmosphere with an asymmetric morphology. The uniform disk diameter in the water band around 2.0 mu is increased by \sim20% compared to the near-continuum bandpass at 2.20-2.25 mu and in the CO band at 2.3-2.5 mu it is increased by up to \sim50%. The closure phases indicate relatively small deviations from point symmetry close to the photospheric layer, and stronger deviations in the extended H2O and CO layers. Making use of the high spatial and spectral resolution, a near-continuum bandpass can be isolated from contamination by molecular and dusty layers, and the Rosseland-mean photospheric angular diameter is estimated to 11.3 +/- 0.3 mas based on a PHOENIX atmosphere model. Together with recent high-precision estimates of the distance and spectro-photometry, this estimate corresponds to a radius of 1420 +/- 120 Rsun and an effective temperature of 3490 +/- 90 K. VY CMa exhibits asymmetric, possibly clumpy, atmospheric layers of H2O and CO, which are not co-spatial, within a larger elongated dusty envelope. Our revised fundamental parameters put VY CMa close to the Hayashi limit of recent evolutionary tracks of initial mass 25 Msun with rotation or 32 Msun without rotation, shortly before evolving blueward in the HR-diagram.
VLTI/AMBER spectro-interferometry of the Herbig Be star MWC 297 with spectral resolution 12 000  [PDF]
G. Weigelt,V. P. Grinin,J. H. Groh,K. -H. Hofmann,S. Kraus,A. S. Miroshnichenko,D. Schertl,L. V. Tambovtseva,M. Benisty,T. Driebe,S. Lagarde,F. Malbet,A. Meilland,R. Petrov,E. Tatulli
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201015676
Abstract: Circumstellar disks and outflows play a fundamental role in star formation. Infrared spectro-interferometry allows the inner accretion-ejection region to be resolved. We measured interferometric visibilities, wavelength-differential phases, and closure phases of MWC 297 with a spectral resolution of 12000. To interpret our MWC 297 observations, we employed disk-wind models. The measured continuum visibilities confirm previous results that the continuum-emitting region of MWC 297 is remarkably compact. We derive a continuum ring-fit radius of ~2.2 mas (~0.56 AU at a distance of 250 pc), which is ~5.4 times smaller than the 3 AU dust sublimation radius expected for silicate grains (in the absence of radiation-shielding material). The strongly wavelength-dependent and asymmetric Br gamma-emitting region is more extended (~2.7 times) than the continuum-emitting region. At the center of the Br gamma line, we derive a Gaussian fit radius of ~6.3 mas HWHM (~1.6 AU). To interpret the observations, we employ a magneto-centrifugally driven disk-wind model consisting of an accretion disk, which emits the observed continuum radiation, and a disk wind, which emits the Br gamma line. The calculated wavelength-dependent model intensity distributions and Br gamma line profiles are compared with the observations (i.e., K-band spectrum, visibilities, differential phases, and closure phases). The closest fitting model predicts a continuum-emitting disk with an inner radius of ~0.3 AU and a disk wind ejection region with an inner radius of ~0.5 AU (~17.5 stellar radii). We obtain a disk-wind half-opening angle (the angle between the rotation axis and the innermost streamline of the disk wind) of ~80 degrees, which is larger than in T Tau models, and a disk inclination angle of ~20 degrees (i.e., almost pole-on).
The size of ABDorA from VLTI/AMBER interferometry  [PDF]
J. C. Guirado,J. M. Marcaide,I. Marti-Vidal,J. -B. Le Bouquin,L. M. Close,W. D. Cotton,J. Montalban
Physics , 2011, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201117426
Abstract: The pre-main sequence (PMS) star ABDorA is the main component of the quadruple system ABDoradus. The precise determination of the mass and photometry of the close companion to ABDorA, ABDorC, has provided an important benchmark for calibration of theoretical evolutionary models of low-mass stars. The limiting factor to the precision of this calibration is the age of the system, as both the mass and luminosity of ABDorA and C are well monitored by other ongoing programs. In this paper we present VLTI/AMBER observations of ABDorA which provide a direct measurement of the size of this star, 0.96+/-0.06 Rsun. The latter estimate, combined with other fundamental parameters also measured for this star, allows a precise test of PMS evolutionary models using both H-R diagrams and mass-radius relationships. We have found that our radius measurement is larger than that predicted by the models, which we interpret as an evidence of the oversizing produced by the strong magnetic activity of ABDorA. Considering, at least partially, this magnetic effect, theoretical isochrones have been used to derive constraints to the age of ABDorA, favouring an age about 40-50 Myr for this system. Older ages are not completely excluded by our data.
Study of the atmospheric refraction in a single mode instrument - Application to AMBER/VLTI  [PDF]
Sylvie Robbe-Dubois,Stephane Lagarde,Yves Bresson,Romain G. Petrov,Marcel Carbillet,Etienne Lecoarer,Frederik Rantakyr?,Isabelle Tallon-Bosc,Martin Vannier,Pierre Antonelli,Gregoire Martinot-Lagarde,Alain Roussel,Daniel Tasso
Physics , 2009, DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2966.2009.14587.x
Abstract: This paper presents a study of the atmospheric refraction and its effect on the light coupling efficiency in an instrument using single-mode optical fibers. We show the analytical approach which allowed us to assess the need to correct the refraction in J- and H-bands while observing with an 8-m Unit Telescope. We then developed numerical simulations to go further in calculations. The hypotheses on the instrumental characteristics are those of AMBER (Astronomical Multi BEam combineR), the near infrared focal beam combiner of the Very Large Telescope Interferometric mode (VLTI), but most of the conclusions can be generalized to other single-mode instruments. We used the software package caos (Code for Adaptive Optics Systems) to take into account the atmospheric turbulence effect after correction by the ESO system MACAO (Multi-Application Curvature Adaptive Optics). The opto-mechanical study and design of the system correcting the atmospheric refraction on AMBER is then detailed. We showed that the atmospheric refraction becomes predominant over the atmospheric turbulence for some zenith angles z and spectral conditions: for z larger than 30{\circ} in J-band for example. The study of the optical system showed that it allows to achieve the required instrumental performance in terms of throughput in J- and H-bands. First observations in J-band of a bright star, alpha Cir star, at more than 30{\circ} from zenith clearly showed the gain to control the atmospheric refraction in a single mode instrument, and validated the operating law.
Statistical characterization of polychromatic absolute and differential squared visibilities obtained from AMBER/VLTI instrument  [PDF]
Antony Schutz,Martin Vannier,David Mary,Andre Ferrari,Florentin Millour,Romain Petrov
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201322227
Abstract: In optical interferometry, the visibility squared modulus are generally assumed to follow a Gaussian distribution and to be independent of each other. A quantitative analysis of the relevance of such assumptions is important to help improving the exploitation of existing and upcoming multi-wavelength interferometric instruments. Analyze the statistical behaviour of both the absolute and the colour-differential squared visibilities: distribution laws, correlations and cross-correlations between different baselines. We use observations of stellar calibrators obtained with AMBER instrument on VLTI in different instrumental and observing configurations, from which we extract the frame-by-frame transfer function. Statistical hypotheses tests and diagnostics are then systematically applied. For both absolute and differential squared visibilities and under all instrumental and observing conditions, we find a better fit for the Student distribution than for the Gaussian, log-normal and Cauchy distributions. We find and analyze clear correlation effects caused by atmospheric perturbations. The differential squared visibilities allow to keep a larger fraction of data with respect to selected absolute squared visibilities and thus benefit from reduced temporal dispersion, while their distribution is more clearly characterized. The frame selection based on the criterion of a fixed SNR value might result in either a biased sample of frames or in a too severe selection.
VLTI/AMBER spectro-interferometric imaging of VX Sgr's inhomogenous outer atmosphere  [PDF]
A. Chiavassa,S. Lacour,F. Millour,T. Driebe,M. Wittkowski,B. Plez,E. Thiebeaut,E. Josselin,B. Freytag,M. Scholz,X. Haubois
Physics , 2009, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/200913288
Abstract: Aims. We aim to explore the photosphere of the very cool late-type star VX Sgr and in particular the existence and characterization of molecular layers above the continuum forming photosphere. Methods. We obtained interferometric observations with the VLTI/AMBER interferometer using the fringe tracker FINITO in the spectral domain 1.45-2.50 micron with a spectral resolution of about 35 and baselines ranging from 15 to 88 meters.We perform independent image reconstruction for different wavelength bins and fit the interferometric data with a geometrical toy model.We also compare the data to 1D dynamical models of Miras atmosphere and to 3D hydrodynamical simulations of red supergiant (RSG) and asymptotic giant branch (AGB) stars. Results. Reconstructed images and visibilities show a strong wavelength dependence. The H-band images display two bright spots whose positions are confirmed by the geometrical toy model. The inhomogeneities are qualitatively predicted by 3D simulations. At about 2,00 micron and in the region 2,35 - 2,50 micron, the photosphere appears extended and the radius is larger than in the H band. In this spectral region, the geometrical toy model locates a third bright spot outside the photosphere that can be a feature of the molecular layers. The wavelength dependence of the visibility can be qualitatively explained by 1D dynamical models of Mira atmospheres. The best-fitting photospheric models show a good match with the observed visibilities and give a photospheric diameter of theta = 8,82+-0,50 mas. The H2O molecule seems to be the dominant absorber in the molecular layers. Conclusions. We show that the atmosphere of VX Sgr rather resembles Mira/AGB star model atmospheres than RSG model atmospheres. In particular, we see molecular (water) layers that are typical for Mira stars.
VLTI/AMBER differential interferometry of the broad-line region of the quasar 3C273  [PDF]
Romain G. Petrov,Florentin. Millour,Stéphane Lagarde,Martin Vannier,Suvendu Rakshit,Alessandro Marconi,Gerd Weigelt
Physics , 2014, DOI: 10.1117/12.926595
Abstract: Unveiling the structure of the Broad Line Region (BLR) of AGNs is critical to understand the quasar phenomenon. Resolving a few BLRs by optical interferometry will bring decisive information to confront, complement and calibrate the reverberation mapping technique, basis of the mass-luminosity relation in quasars. BLRs are much smaller than the angular resolution of the VLT and Keck interferometers and they can be resolved only by differential interferometry very accurate measurements of differential visibility and phase as a function of wavelength. The latter yields the photocenter variation with wavelength, and constrains the size, position and velocity law of various regions of the BLR. AGNs are below the magnitude limit for spectrally resolved interferometry set by currently available fringe trackers. A new "blind" observation method and a data processing based on the accumulation of 2D Fourier power and cross spectra permitted us to obtain the first spectrally resolved interferometric observation of a BLR, on the K=10 quasar 3C273. A careful bias analysis is still in progress, but we report strong evidence that, as the baseline increases, the differential visibility decreases in the Pa-alpha line. Combined with a differential phase smaller than 3 degree, this yields an angular equivalent radius of the BLR larger than 0.4 milliarcseconds, or 1000 light days at the distance of 3C273, much larger than the reverberation mapping radius of 300 light days. Explaining the coexistence of these two different sizes, and possibly structures and mechanisms, implies very new insights into the BLR of 3C273
VLTI/AMBER observations of the Seyfert nucleus of NGC 3783  [PDF]
G. Weigelt,K. -H. Hofmann,M. Kishimoto,S. H?nig,D. Schertl,A. Marconi,F. Millour,R. Petrov,D. Fraix-Burnet,F. Malbet,K. Tristram,M. Vannier
Physics , 2012, DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/201219213
Abstract: Context. The putative tori surrounding the accretion disks of active galactic nuclei (AGNs) play a fundamental role in the unification scheme of AGNs. Infrared long-baseline interferometry allows us to study the inner dust distribution in AGNs with unprecedented spatial resolution over a wide infrared wavelength range. Aims. Near- and mid-infrared interferometry is used to investigate the milli-arcsecond-scale dust distribution in the type 1.5 Seyfert nucleus of NGC 3783. Methods. We observed NGC 3783 with the VLTI/AMBER instrument in the K-band and compared our observations with models. Results. From the K-band observations, we derive a ring-fit torus radius of 0.74 +/- 0.23 mas or 0.16 +/- 0.05 pc. We compare this size with infrared interferometric observations of other AGNs and UV/optical-infrared reverberation measurements. For the interpretation of our observations, we simultaneously model our near- and mid-infrared visibilities and the SED with a temperature/density-gradient model including an additional inner hot 1400 K ring component.
New opportunities with spectro-interferometry and spectro-astrometry  [PDF]
Stefan Kraus
Physics , 2013, DOI: 10.1117/12.926801
Abstract: Latest-generation spectro-interferometric instruments combine a milliarcsecond angular resolution with spectral capabilities, resulting in an immensely increased information content. Here, I present methodological work and results that illustrate the fundamentally new scientific insights provided by spectro-interferometry with very high spectral dispersion or in multiple line transitions (Brackett and Pfund lines). In addition, I discuss some pitfalls in the interpretation of spectro-interferometric data. In the context of our recent studies on the classical Be stars {\beta} CMi and {\zeta} Tau, I present the first position-velocity diagram obtained with optical interferometry and provide a physical interpretation for a phase inversion, which has in the meantime been observed for several classical Be-stars. In the course of our study on the Herbig B[e] star V921 Sco, we combined, for the first time, spectro-interferometry and spectro-astrometry, providing a powerful and resource-efficient way to constrain the spatial distribution as well as the kinematics of the circumstellar gas with an unprecedented velocity resolution up to R = {\lambda}/{\Delta}{\lambda} = 100,000. Finally, I discuss our phase sign calibration procedure, which has allowed us to calibrate AMBER differential phases and closure phases for all spectral modes, and derive from the gained experience science-driven requirements for future instrumentation projects.
High-resolution Br-gamma spectro-interferometry of the transitional Herbig Ae/Be star HD 100546: a Keplerian gaseous disc inside the inner rim  [PDF]
I. Mendigutía,W. J. de Wit,R. D. Oudmaijer,J. R. Fairlamb,A. C. Carciofi,J. D. Ilee,R. G. Vieira
Physics , 2015, DOI: 10.1093/mnras/stv1777
Abstract: We present spatially and spectrally resolved Br-gamma emission around the planet-hosting, transitional Herbig Ae/Be star HD 100546. Aiming to gain insight into the physical origin of the line in possible relation to accretion processes, we carried out Br-gamma spectro-interferometry using AMBER/VLTI from three different baselines achieving spatial and spectral resolutions of 2-4 mas and 12000. The Br-gamma visibility is larger than that of the continuum for all baselines. Differential phases reveal a shift between the photocentre of the Br-gamma line -displaced 0.6 mas (0.06 au at 100 pc) NE from the star- and that of the K-band continuum emission -displaced 0.3 mas NE from the star. The photocentres of the redshifted and blueshifted components of the Br-gamma line are located NW and SE from the photocentre of the peak line emission, respectively. Moreover, the photocentre of the fastest velocity bins within the spectral line tends to be closer to that of the peak emission than the photocentre of the slowest velocity bins. Our results are consistent with a Br-gamma emitting region inside the dust inner rim (<0.25 au) and extending very close to the central star, with a Keplerian, disc-like structure rotating counter-clockwise, and most probably flared (25 deg). Even though the main contribution to the Br-gamma line does not come from gas magnetically channelled on to the star, accretion on to HD 100546 could be magnetospheric, implying a mass accretion rate of a few 10^-7 Msun/yr. This value indicates that the observed gas has to be replenished on time-scales of a few months to years, perhaps by planet-induced flows from the outer to the inner disc as has been reported for similar systems.
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