A pulsational mechanism for producing Keplerian disks around Be stars.
Abstract (from CDS):
Classical Be stars are an enigmatic subclass of rapidly rotating hot stars characterized by dense equatorial disks of gas that have been inferred to orbit with Keplerian velocities. Although these disks seem to be ejected from the star and not accreted, there is substantial observational evidence to show that the stars rotate more slowly than required for centrifugally driven mass loss. This paper develops an idea (proposed originally by Hiroyasu Ando and colleagues) that nonradial stellar pulsations inject enough angular momentum into the upper atmosphere to spin up a Keplerian disk. The pulsations themselves are evanescent in the stellar photosphere, but they may be unstable to the generation of resonant oscillations at the acoustic cutoff frequency. A detailed theory of the conversion from pulsations to resonant waves does not yet exist for realistic hot-star atmospheres, so the current models depend on a parameterized approximation for the efficiency of wave excitation. Once resonant waves have been formed, however, they grow in amplitude with increasing height, steepen into shocks, and exert radial and azimuthal Reynolds stresses on the mean fluid. Using reasonable assumptions for the stellar parameters, these processes were found to naturally create the inner boundary conditions required for dense Keplerian disks, even when the underlying B-star photosphere is rotating as slowly as 60% of its critical rotation speed. Because there is evidence for long-term changes in Be-star pulsational properties, this model may also account for the long-term variability of Be stars, including transitions between normal, Be, and shell phases.