Structure in the Disk of epsilon Aurigae: Analysis of the ARCES and TripleSpec data obtained during the 2010 eclipse

Research paper by Justus Gibson, Robert E. Stencel

Indexed on: 15 Dec '16Published on: 15 Dec '16Published in: arXiv - Astrophysics - Solar and Stellar Astrophysics


Context: Worldwide interest in the recent eclipse of epsilon Aurigae resulted in the generation of several extensive data sets, including those related to high resolution spectroscopic monitoring. This lead to the discovery, among other things, of the existence of a mass transfer stream, seen notably during third contact. Aims: We explored spectroscopic facets of the mass transfer stream during third contact, using high resolution spectra obtained with the ARCES and TripleSpec instruments at Apache Point Observatory. Methods: One hundred and sixteen epochs of data between 2009 and 2012 were obtained, and equivalent widths and line velocities measured, selected according to reports of these being high versus low eccentricity disk lines. These datasets also enable greater detail to be measured of the mid-eclipse enhancement of the He I 10830A line, and the discovery of the P Cygni shape of the Pa beta line at third contact. Analysis: We found evidence of higher speed material, associated with the mass transfer stream, persisting between third and fourth eclipse contacts. We visualize the disk and stream interaction using SHAPE software, and use CLOUDY software to estimate that the source of the enhanced He I 10830A absorption arises from a region with log n = 10 (/cm3) and temperature of 20,000 K consistent with a mid B type central star. Results and Next Steps: Van Rensbergen binary star evolutionary models are somewhat consistent with the current binary parameters for the case of a 9 plus 8 solar mass initial binary, evolving into a 2.3 and 14.11 solar mass end product after 35 Myr. Prior to the next eclipse, it is possible to make predictions which suggest that continued monitoring will help resolve standing questions about this binary.