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Envelope tomography of long-period variable stars *
I. The Schwarzschild mechanism and the Balmer emission lines
R. Alvarez 1,
A. Jorissen 1,
B. Plez 2,
D. Gillet 3 and
A. Fokin 4
Received 6 April 2000 / Accepted 31 August 2000
This paper is the first one in a series devoted to the study of the dynamics of the atmospheres of long-period variable (LPV) stars. Results from a two-month-long monitoring of the Mira variables RT Cyg and X Oph around maximum light with the ELODIE spectrograph at the Haute-Provence Observatory are presented. The monitoring covers phases 0.80 to 1.16 for RT Cyg and phases 0.83 to 1.04 for X Oph. The cross-correlation profile of the spectrum of RT Cyg with a K0 III mask confirms that the absorption lines of RT Cyg in the optical domain appear double around maximum light. No line doubling was found in the optical spectrum of X Oph around maximum light, indicating that this feature is not common to all LPVs.
This paper also presents the application to RT Cyg of a new tomographic 1 technique deriving the velocity field across the atmosphere by cross-correlating the optical spectrum with numerical masks constructed from synthetic spectra and probing layers of increasing depths. This technique reveals that both the temporal evolution of the line doubling, and its variation with depth in the atmosphere of RT Cyg, are consistent with the `Schwarzschild scenario'. This scenario relates the temporal evolution of the red and blue peaks of the double absorption lines to the progression of a shock wave in the atmosphere.
The temporal evolution of the Balmer H, H, H and H emission lines around maximum light is also presented for RT Cyg and X Oph. The velocity variations of H and of the absorption lines are discussed in the framework of two competing models for the formation of Balmer emission lines in LPV stars.
Key words: stars: AGB and post-AGB stars: atmospheres stars: late-type stars: oscillations stars: variables: general shock waves
Send offprint requests to: R. Alvarez
Online publication: October 24, 2000