Variability in Optical Spectra of epsilon Orionis

Gregory B. Thompson (1), Nancy D. Morrison (2)

(1) Department of Physics, Adrian College
(2) Ritter Astrophysical Research Center, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Toledo

We present the results of a time-series analysis of 130 echelle spectra of epsilon Ori (B0 Ia), acquired over seven observing seasons between 1998 and 2006 at Ritter Observatory. The equivalent widths of Halpha (net) and He I 5876 were measured and radial velocities were obtained from the central absorption of He I 5876. Temporal variance spectra (TVS) revealed significant wind variability in both Halpha and He I 5876. The He I TVS have a double-peaked profile consistent with radial velocity oscillations. A periodicity search was carried out on the equivalent width and radial velocity data, as well as on wavelength-binned spectra. This analysis has revealed several periods in the variability with time scales of 2-7 d. Many of these periods exhibit sinusoidal modulation in the associated phase diagrams. Several of these periods were present in both Halpha and He I, indicating a possible connection between the wind and the photosphere. Due to the harmonic nature of these periods, stellar pulsations may be the origin of some of the observed variability. Periods on the order of the rotational period were also detected in the He I line in the 98-99 season and in both lines during the 04-05 season. These periods may indicate rotational modulation due to structure in the wind.

Reference: Accepted for publication in The Astronomical Journal
Status: Manuscript has been accepted