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Astron. Astrophys. 341, 201-210 (1999)

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Microlensing of circumstellar envelopes

I. Simplified considerations for diagnosing radial and azimuthal flow

R. Ignace and M.A. Hendry

Kelvin Building, Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, Scotland, UK

Received 16 July 1998 / Accepted 15 September 1998


This paper presents first results on the line profile shapes from a circumstellar envelope in bulk motion as modified by a microlensing event. Only geometrically and optically thin spherical shells in uniform expansion or rotation are considered here so as to emphasise the information content available in the profile shapes. In particular it is demonstrated that for the case of expansion, the line emission can increase by significant factors and the time variation of the profile shape is symmetric about line centre. For uniform rotation the line emission also increases significantly, but the time evolution of the profile shape is distinctly asymmetric . Thus, microlensing is seen to yield information about the velocity field in the extended envelope. We elaborate on (a) the observational advantages of tailoring microlensing programs toward detecting extended circumstellar envelopes, (b) the use of multiline observations to infer other properties of the envelopes, such as the ionization stratification, (c) the use of the continuum excess emission at infrared wavelengths as a means of probing the envelope structure, and (d) the use of polarisation for constraining the properties of "clumpy" winds.

Key words: cosmology: gravitational lensing – galaxies: quasars: emission lines – stars: rotation – stars: imaging – stars: circumstellar matter – line: profiles

Send offprint requests to: rico@astro.gla.ac.uk

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© European Southern Observatory (ESO) 1999

Online publication: November 26, 1998