Properties of the Hα-emitting circumstellar regions of Be stars

Christopher Tycner, John B. Lester, Arsen R. Hajian, J. T. Armstrong, J. A. Benson, G. C. Gilbreath, D. J. Hutter, T. A. Pauls, N. M. White

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Long-baseline interferometric observations obtained with the Navy Prototype Optical Interferometer of the Hα-emitting envelopes of the Be stars η Tau and β CMi are presented. For compatibility with the previously published interferometric results in the literature of other Be stars, circularly symmetric and elliptical Gaussian models were fitted to the calibrated Ha observations. The models are adequate for characterizing the angular distribution of the Hα-emitting circumstellar material associated with these Be stars. To study the correlations between the various model parameters and the stellar properties, the model parameters for η Tau and β CMi were combined with data for other Be stars from the literature. After accounting for the different distances to the sources and stellar continuum flux levels, it was possible to study the relationship between the net Ha emission and the physical extent of the Hα-emitting circumstellar region. A clear dependence of the net Hα emission on the linear size of the emitting region is demonstrated, and these results are consistent with an optically thick line emission that is directly proportional to the effective area of the emitting disk. Within the small sample of stars considered in this analysis, no clear dependence on the spectral type or stellar rotation is found, although the results do suggest that hotter stars might have more extended Hα-emitting regions. α 2005. The American Astronomical Society. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-371
Number of pages13
JournalAstrophysical Journal
Issue number1 I
StatePublished - May 1 2005


  • Stars: Emission-line, Be
  • Techniques: Interferometric


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