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Astron. Astrophys. 355, 187-193 (2000)

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The infrared spectrum of the Be star [FORMULA] Cassiopeiae *

S. Hony 1, L.B.F.M. Waters 1,2, P.A. Zaal 1, A. de Koter 1, J.M. Marlborough 3, C.E. Millar 3, N.R. Trams 4, P.W. Morris 1 and Th. de Graauw 5

1 Astronomical Institute Anton Pannekoek, University of Amsterdam, Kruislaan 403, 1098 SJ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2 Instituut voor Sterrenkunde, K.U. Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200B, 3001 Heverlee, Belgium
3 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 3K7, Canada
4 Integral Science Operations, Astrophysics Division, Space Science Department of ESA, ESTEC, P.O. Box 299, 2200 AG Noordwijk, The Netherlands
5 SRON Laboratory for Space Reserach, P.O. Box 800, 9700 AV Groningen, The Netherlands

Received 10 June 1999 / Accepted 8 October 1999


We present the 2.4-45 µm ISO-SWS spectrum of the Be star [FORMULA] Cas (B0.5 IVe). The spectrum is characterised by a thermal continuum which can be well fit by a power-law [FORMULA] [FORMULA] [FORMULA] over the entire SWS wavelength range. For an isothermal disc of ionized gas with constant opening angle, this correponds to a density gradient [FORMULA](r) [FORMULA] [FORMULA]. We report the detection of the Humphreys (6-[FORMULA]) bound-free jump in emission at 3.4 µm. The size of the jump is sensitive to the electron temperature of the gas in the disc, and we find T [FORMULA] 9 000 K, i.e. much lower than the stellar effective temperature (25 000-30 000 K). The spectrum is dominated by numerous emission lines, mostly from HI , but also some HeI lines are detected. Several spectral features cannot be identified. The line strengths of the HI emission lines do not follow case B recombination line theory. The line strengths and widths suggest that many lines are optically thick and come from an inner, high density region with radius 3-5 R* and temperature above that of the bulk of the disc material. Only the [FORMULA], [FORMULA] and [FORMULA] transitions of the series lines contain a contribution from the outer regions. The level populations deviate significantly from LTE and are highly influenced by the optically thick, local (disc) continuum radiation field. The inner disc may be rotating more rapidly than the stellar photosphere.

Key words: stars: circumstellar matter – stars: emission-line, Be – stars: individual: fl Cas – stars: mass-loss – infrared: stars

* based on observations obtained with ISO, an ESA project with instruments funded by ESA Member states (especially the PI countries: France, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom) with the participation of ISAS and NASA

Send offprint requests to: S. Hony (hony@astro.uva.nl)

© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 2000

Online publication: March 17, 2000