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Nonradial oscillations in Spica Fraser, Geoffrey Alan


The absorption line profiles of Spica (α Virginis, HD116658, B1.5IV, m=0.97) show features, at about the 1% level, moving from the blue wavelengths towards the red wavelengths. A series of spectra were taken, at the 1.22 m telescope at the Dominion Astrophysical Observatory on three nights in April, 1982 and two nights in April, 1984, to study these moving features. As Spica is a member of a binary system, the effect of the secondary had to be removed from the observations. This was done by subtracting a template spectrum which had been scaled, broadened and shifted to match the secondary, from each observation. The required shifts were determined using the orbital elements on blended nights and using the Fahlman-Glaspy small-shifts technique on unblended nights. An average of all the spectra was then subtracted from each observation. The resulting series of residuals clearly show the motion of the features seen in the line profiles. The acceleration of the features was estimated to be between 0.0055 and 0.0068 kms⁻². Assuming the features are due to nonradial oscillations, this acceleration corresponds to waves moving slowly, about 5 to 20 kms⁻¹, in a prograde direction. The angular frequency of the oscillations, after accounting for the effects of rotation, would be about 3.4X10⁻⁵ rads⁻¹. A computer model that produces line profiles, under the assumption of a single nonradial oscillation, was used to produce profiles for comparison with observations. Using an [formula omitted]=8 and m=-8 mode, an intrinsic frequency of 3.4X10⁻⁵ rads⁻¹ and a stellar rotation rate of 190 kms⁻¹, the model produced profiles similar to those observed. The change in the model profiles with time was also similar to that observed.

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