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Title: The A-shell star ϕ Leo revisited: its photospheric and circumstellar spectra
Authors: Eiroa, C.
Montesinos, B.
Rebollido, I.
Henning, T.
Launhardt, R.
Maldonado, J.
Meeus, G.
Mora, A.
Rivière Marichalar, P.
Villaver, E.
Keywords: Stars: individual: ϕ Leo;Stars: early type;Stars: variables: δ Scuti;Stars: emission-line, Be;Circumstellar matter;Comets: general
Issue Date: 21-Sep-2021
Publisher: EDP Sciences
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361/202141140
Published version:
Citation: Astronomy and Astrophysics 653: A115(2021)
Abstract: Context. We previously suggested that variable red- and blueshifted absorption features observed in the Ca II K line towards the A-type shell star ϕ Leo are likely due to solid, comet-like bodies in the circumstellar (CS) environment. Aims. Our aim is to expand our observational study of ϕ Leo to other characteristic spectral lines of A-type photospheres as well as to lines arising in their CS shells. Methods. We obtained more than 500 high-resolution optical spectra collected at different telescopes over 37 nights in several observing runs from December 2015 to January 2019. Consecutive time-series spectra were taken, covering intervals of up to ~9 h on some nights. We analysed some photospheric lines, in particular Ca I 4226 Å and Mg II 4481 Å, as well as the circumstellar shell lines Ca II H and K, the Ca II IR triplet, Fe II 4924, 5018, and 5169 Å, Ti II 3685, 3759, and 3761 Å, and the Balmer lines Hα and Hβ. Results. Our observational study reveals that ϕ Leo is a variable δ Scuti star whose spectra show remarkable dumps and bumps superimposed on the photospheric line profiles, which vary in strength and sharpness, propagate from blue- to more redshifted radial velocities, and persist for a few hours. Similarly to other δ Scuti stars, these features are likely produced by non-radial pulsations. At the same time, all shell lines present emission at ~3 km s−1 centred at the core of the CS features, and two variable absorption minima at both sides of the emission; those absorption minima occur at almost the same velocity for each line, that is, no apparent dynamical evolution is observed. The variations observed in the Ca II H and K, Fe II, and Ti II lines occur on a range of timescales from minutes to days and between observing runs, but without any clear correlation or recognisable temporal pattern among the different lines. In the case of Hα, the CS contribution is also variable in just one of the observing runs. Conclusions. We suggest that ϕ Leo is a rapidly rotating δ Scuti star surrounded by a variable, (nearly) edge-on CS disk possibly re-supplied by the δ Scuti pulsations. The behaviour of the CS shell lines is reminiscent of that of rapidly rotating Be shell stars with an edge-on CS disk, and is clear evidence that the variations observed in the CS features of ϕ Leo are highly unlikely to be produced by exocomets. In addition, the observational results presented in this work, together with some recent results concerning the shell star HR 10, highlight the need for critical revision of the Ca II K features, which have been attributed to exocomets in other shell stars.
Description: A copy of the spectra and Table C.1 are only available at the CDS via anonymous ftp to ( or via Part of this work was made while at the Departamento de Física Teórica of the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, and as visiting astronomer at Calar Alto Observatory.
E-ISSN: 1432-0746
ISSN: 0004-6361
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