Interferometric constraints on gravity darkening with application to the modeling of spica A & B

J. P. Aufdenberg*, M. J. Ireland, A. Merand, V. Coude Du Foresto, O. Absil, E. Di Folco, P. Kervella, W. G. Bagnuolo, D. R. Gies, S. T. Ridgway, D. H. Berger, T. A. Ten Brummelaar, H. A. McAlister, J. Sturmann, L. Sturmann, N. H. Turner, A. P. Jacob

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)


In 2005 we obtained very precise interferometric measurements of the pole-on rapid rotator Vega (A0 V) with the longest baselines of the Center for High Angular Angular Resolution (CHARA) Array and the Fiber Linked Unit for Optical Recombination (FLUOR). For the analysis of these data, we developed a code for mapping sophisticated PHOENIX model atmospheres on to the surface of rotationally distorted stars described by a Roche-von Zeipel formalism. Given a set of input parameters for a star or binary pair, this code predicts the interferometric visibility, spectral energy distribution and high-resolution line spectrum expected for the system. For the gravity-darkened Vega, our model provides a very good match to the K-band interferometric data, a good match to the spectral energy distribution except below 160 nm and a rather poor match to weak lines in the high dispersion spectrum where the model appears overly gravity darkened. In 2006, we used the CHARA Array and FLUOR to obtain high precision measurements of the massive, non-eclipsing, double-line spectroscopic binary Spica, a 4-day period system where both components are gravity darkened rapid rotators. These data supplement recent data obtained with the Sydney University Stellar Interferometer (SUSI). Our study follows the classic 1971 study by Herbison-Evans et al. who resolved Spica as a binary with the Narrabri Stellar Intensity Interferometer (NSII). We will report on our progress modeling the new interferometric and archival spectroscopic data, with the goal towards better constraining the apsidal constant.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-280
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the International Astronomical Union
Issue numberS240
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


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