Mon. Not. R. Astron. Soc., 376, 651-672 (2007/April-1)
Line profile variations in rapidly oscillating Ap stars: resolution of the enigma.
KOCHUKHOV O., RYABCHIKOVA T., WEISS W.W., LANDSTREET J.D. and LYASHKO D.
Abstract (from CDS):
We have carried out the first survey of the pulsational line profile variability in rapidly oscillating Ap (roAp) stars. We analysed high signal-to-noise ratio time-series observations of 10 sharp-lined roAp stars obtained with the high-resolution spectrographs attached to the Very Large Telescope and Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope. We investigated in detail the variations of Priii, Ndii, Ndiii and Tbiii lines and discovered a prominent change of the profile variability pattern with height in the atmospheres of all studied roAp stars. We show that, in every investigated star, profile variability of at least one rare-earth ion is characterized by unusual blue-to-red moving features, which we previously discovered in the time-resolved spectra of the roAp star γ Equ. This behaviour is common in rapidly rotating non-radial pulsators but is inexplicable in the framework of the standard oblique pulsator model of slowly rotating roAp stars. Using analysis of the line profile moments and spectrum synthesis calculations, we demonstrate that unusual oscillations in spectral lines of roAp stars arise from the pulsational modulation of linewidths. This variation occurs approximately in quadrature with the radial velocity changes, and its amplitude rapidly increases with height in stellar atmosphere. We propose that the linewidth modulation is a consequence of the periodic expansion and compression of turbulent layers in the upper atmospheres of roAp stars. Thus, the line profile changes observed in slowly rotating magnetic pulsators should be interpreted as a superposition of two types of variability: the usual time-dependent velocity field due to an oblique low-order pulsation mode and an additional linewidth modulation, synchronized with the changes of stellar radius. Our explanation of the line profile variations of roAp stars solves the long-standing observational puzzle and opens new possibilities for constraining geometric and physical properties of the stellar magnetoacoustic pulsations.