Interferometric observations of two well-known Be stars, γ Cas and φ Per, were collected and analyzed to determine the spatial characteristics of their circumstellar regions. The observations were obtained using the Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer equipped with custom-made narrowband filters. The filters isolate the Hα emission line from the nearby continuum radiation, which results in an increased contrast between the interferometric signature due to the Hα-emitting circumstellar region and the central star. Because the narrowband filters do not significantly attenuate the continuum radiation at wavelengths 50 nm or more away from the line, the interferometric signal in the Hα channel is calibrated with respect to the continuum channels. The observations used in this study represent the highest spatial resolution measurements of the Hα-emitting regions of Be stars obtained to date. These observations allow us to demonstrate for the first time that the intensity distribution in the circumstellar region of a Be star cannot be represented by uniform disk or ringlike structures, whereas a Gaussian intensity distribution appears to be fully consistent with our observations.
- Stars: emission-line, Be
- Stars: individual (γ Cassiopeiae, φ Persei)
- Techniques: interferometric