High-resolution h-band spectroscopy of be stars with SDSS-III/APOGEE. I. new be stars, line identifications, and line profiles

S. Drew Chojnowski, David G. Whelan, John P. Wisniewski, Steven R. Majewski, Matthew Hall, Matthew Shetrone, Rachael Beaton, Adam Burton, Guillermo Damke, Steve Eikenberry, Sten Hasselquist, Jon A. Holtzman, Szabolcs Mészáros, David Nidever, Donald P. Schneider, John Wilson, Gail Zasowski, Dmitry Bizyaev, Howard Brewington, J. BrinkmannGarrett Ebelke, Peter M. Frinchaboy, Karen Kinemuchi, Elena Malanushenko, Viktor Malanushenko, Moses Marchante, Daniel Oravetz, Kaike Pan, Audrey Simmons

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46 Scopus citations


The Apache Point Observatory Galactic Evolution Experiment (APOGEE) has amassed the largest ever collection of multi-epoch, high-resolution (R∼22,500), H-band spectra for B-type emission line (Be) stars. These stars were targeted by APOGEE as telluric standard stars and subsequently identified via visual inspection as Be stars based on H i Brackett series emission or shell absorption in addition to otherwise smooth continua and occasionally non-hydrogen emission features. The 128/238 APOGEE Be stars for which emission had never previously been reported serve to increase the total number of known Be stars by ∼6%. Because the H band is relatively unexplored compared to other wavelength regimes, we focus here on identification of the H-band lines and analysis of the emission peak velocity separations () and emission peak intensity ratios (V/R) of the usually double-peaked H i and non-hydrogen emission lines. H i Br11 emission is found to preferentially form in the circumstellar disks at an average distance of ∼2.2 stellar radii. Increasing toward the weaker Br12-Br20 lines suggests these lines are formed interior to Br11. By contrast, the observed IR Fe ii emission lines present evidence of having significantly larger formation radii; distinctive phase lags between IR Fe ii and H i Brackett emission lines further supports that these species arise from different radii in Be disks. Several emission lines have been identified for the first time including C i 16895, a prominent feature in the spectra for almost a fifth of the sample and, as inferred from relatively large compared to the Br11-Br20, a tracer of the inner regions of Be disks. Emission lines at 15760 and 16781 remain unidentified, but usually appear along with and always have similar line profile morphology to Fe ii 16878. Unlike the typical metallic lines observed for Be stars in the optical, the H-band metallic lines, such as Fe ii 16878, never exhibit any evidence of shell absorption, even when the H i lines are clearly shell-dominated. The first known example of a quasi-triple-peaked Br11 line profile is reported for HD 253659, one of several stars exhibiting intra- and/or extra-species V/R and radial velocity variation within individual spectra. Br11 profiles are presented for all discussed stars, as are full APOGEE spectra for a portion of the sample.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
JournalAstronomical Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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