Spiral density enhancements in Be binary systems

Isabelle H. Cyr, C. E. Jones, A. C. Carciofi, C. Steckel, C. Tycner, A. T. Okazaki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


We use a smoothed particle hydrodynamics (SPH) code to examine the effects of a binary companion on a Be star disc for a range of disc viscosities and misalignment angles, i.e. the angle between the orbital plane and the primary star's spin axis. The density structures in the disc due to the tidal interaction with the binary companion are investigated. Expanding on our previous work, the shape and density structure of density enhancements due to the binary companion are analysed and the changes in observed interferometric features due to these orbiting enhancements are also predicted. We find that larger misalignment angles and viscosity values result in more tightly wound spiral arms with densities that fall-off more slowly with radial distance from the central star. We show that the orbital phase has very little effect on the structure of the spiral density enhancements. We demonstrate that these spiral features can be detected with an interferometer in H α and K-band emission. We also show that the spiral features affect the axis ratios determined by interferometry depending on the orientation of these features and the observer. For example, our simulations show that the axis ratios can vary by 20 per cent for our co-planar binary disc system depending on the location of the disc density enhancements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3525-3536
Number of pages12
JournalMonthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2020


  • circumstellar matter
  • stars: Emission-line, Be


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