The Photospheric Temperatures of Betelgeuse during the Great Dimming of 2019/2020 : No New Dust Required
Summary, in English
The processes that shape the extended atmospheres of red supergiants, heat their chromospheres, create molecular reservoirs, drive mass loss, and create dust remain poorly understood. Betelgeuse's V-band "Great Dimming"event of 2019 September/2020 February and its subsequent rapid brightening provides a rare opportunity to study these phenomena. Two different explanations have emerged to explain the dimming; new dust appeared in our line of sight attenuating the photospheric light, or a large portion of the photosphere had cooled. Here we present five years of Wing three-filter (A, B, and C band) TiO and near-IR photometry obtained at the Wasatonic Observatory. These reveal that parts of the photosphere had a mean effective temperature (T eff) significantly lower than that found by Levesque & Massey. Synthetic photometry from MARCS-model photospheres and spectra reveal that the V band, TiO index, and C-band photometry, and previously reported 4000-6800 Å spectra can be quantitatively reproduced if there are multiple photospheric components, as hinted at by Very Large Telescope (VLT)-SPHERE images in Montargès et al. If the cooler component has ΔT eff ≥ 250 K cooler than 3650 K, then no new dust is required to explain the available empirical constraints. A coincidence of the dominant short-(∼430 days) and long-period (∼5.8 yr) V-band variations occurred near the time of deep minimum (Guinan et al. 2019a). This is in tandem with the strong correlation of V mag and photospheric radial velocities, recently reported by Dupree et al. (2020b). These suggest that the cooling of a large fraction of the visible star has a dynamic origin related to the photospheric motions, perhaps arising from pulsation or large-scale convective motions.
- Astronomy, Astrophysics and Cosmology
- ISSN: 0004-637X