Colder and Hotter: Interferometric Imaging of ß Cassiopeiae and Leonis

X. Che, J. D. Monnier, M. Zhao, E. Pedretti, N. Thureau, A. Mérand, T. ten Brummelaar, H. McAlister, S. T. Ridgway, N. Turner, J. Sturmann, L. Sturmann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Near-infrared interferometers have recently imaged a number of rapidly rotating A-type stars, finding levels of gravity darkening inconsistent with theoretical expectations. Here, we present new imaging of both a cooler star ß Cas (F2IV) and a hotter one ¿ Leo (B7V) using the CHARA array and the MIRC instrument at the H band. Adopting a solid-body rotation model with a simple gravity darkening prescription, we modeled the stellar geometric properties and surface temperature distributions, confirming that both stars are rapidly rotating and show gravity darkening anomalies. We estimate the masses and ages of these rapid rotators on L-R pol and H-R diagrams constructed for non-rotating stars by tracking their non-rotating equivalents. The unexpected fast rotation of the evolved sub-giant ß Cas offers a unique test of the stellar core-envelope coupling, revealing quite efficient coupling over the past ~0.5 Gyr. Lastly, we summarize all our interferometric determinations of the gravity darkening coefficient for rapid rotators, finding that none match the expectations from the widely used von Zeipel gravity darkening laws. Since the conditions of the von Zeipel law are known to be violated for rapidly rotating stars, we recommend using the empirically derived ß = 0.19 for such stars with radiation-dominated envelopes. Furthermore, we note that no paradigm exists for self-consistently modeling heavily gravity-darkened stars that show hot radiative poles with cool convective equators.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages68
JournalThe Astrophysical Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2011


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