AAS 197, January 2001
Session 10. Low Mass Star Formation
Display, Monday, January 8, 2001, 9:30am-7:00pm, Exhibit Hall

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[10.20] Spectral Variability of the UXOR Star RR Tau Over 2.5 Magnitudes in V

B. Rodgers (University of Washington), D.H. Wooden (NASA Ames Research Center), V.P. Grinin (St. Petersburg State University), D. Shakhovskoy (Crimean Astrophysical Observatory)

We present moderate resolution optical spectra of the highly variable Herbig Ae star RR~Tau over 12 epochs spanning 2.5 magnitudes in V. The data cover most of the optical spectrum from the CaII K line in the blue to the CaII infrared triplet in the far red. Using contemporaneous photometric measurements from two sources, we have reliable estimates of the visual magnitude of the system at each spectral epoch. We find some spectral activity to be closely correlated with photometric variability, while other features are remarkably stable. Significant variability is common in the cores of H\alpha and H\beta, but is not well correlated with photometric variability. On the other hand, the wings (\Delta v>400km/s) of the Balmer lines are quite stable, showing no change in spectral type when compared to Kurucz line profiles. This, along with the constant equivalent width seen in several weak metal lines, suggest that the physical conditions of the underlying continuum source are not changing significantly, despite a factor of ten change in brightness. In contrast, strong low-ionization permitted lines, such as FeII, CaII and NaI, are seen in deep absorption when the star is bright (V \leq 12), but disappear during photometric minima to reveal weak emission lines. These absorption lines are not being filled in by the emission but rather are physically disappearing from the system. This could occur, for example, if an obscuring screen moved between the continuum source and the absorbing gas. The [OI]6300 line, a common wind diagnostic, is seen in emission at all epochs, with flux which is roughly constant except increasing slightly when the system is faint. We discuss these data in the context of different scenarios for the photometric variability and find them to be more consistent with the obscuration hypothesis, than changing accretion luminosity.

This work is part of the dissertation research of B. Rodgers, which has been funded in large part by a NASA Graduate Student Research Program (GSRP) grant, for which D.H. Wooden is Rodgers' advisor. We gratefully acknowledge the use of the database of the Amateur Astronomers Variable Star Organization (AAVSO).

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.astro.washington.edu/rodgers/uxors.html. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: rodgers@astro.washington.edu

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