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An analysis of the rapidly rotating Bp star HD 133880


  • Based in part on observations made with the European Southern Observatory (ESO) telescopes under ESO programmes 082.D-0061(A), 083.D-0034(A), 085.D-0296(A) and 086.D-0449(A), obtained from the ESO/ST-ECF Science Archive Facility. It is also based in part on observations carried out at the Canada–France–Hawaii Telescope (CFHT) which is operated by the National Research Council of Canada, the Institut National des Science de l’Univers of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique of France and the University of Hawaii.



HD 133880 is a rapidly rotating chemically peculiar B-type (Bp) star (v sin i≃ 103 km s−1) and is host to one of the strongest magnetic fields of any Ap/Bp star. A member of the Upper Centaurus Lupus association, it is a star with a well-determined age of 16 Myr. 12 new spectra, four of which are polarimetric, obtained from the FEROS, ESPaDOnS and HARPS instruments, provide sufficient material from which to re-evaluate the magnetic field and obtain a first approximation to the atmospheric abundance distributions of He, O, Mg, Si, Ti, Cr, Fe, Ni, Pr and Nd.

An abundance analysis was carried out using zeeman, a program which synthesizes spectral line profiles for stars with permeating magnetic fields. The magnetic field structure was characterized by a colinear multipole expansion from the observed variations of the longitudinal and surface fields with rotational phase. Both magnetic hemispheres are clearly visible during the stellar rotation, and thus a three-ring abundance distribution model encompassing both magnetic poles and magnetic equator with equal spans in colatitude was adopted.

Using the new magnetic field measurements and optical photometry together with previously published data, we refine the period of HD 133880 to P= 0.877 476 ± 0.000 009 d. Our simple axisymmetric magnetic field model is based on a predominantly quadrupolar component that roughly describes the field variations. Using spectrum synthesis, we derived mean abundances for O, Mg, Si, Ti, Cr, Fe and Pr. All elements, except Mg, are overabundant compared to the Sun. Mg appears to be approximately uniform over the stellar surface, while all other elements are more abundant in the negative magnetic hemisphere than in the positive magnetic hemisphere. In contrast to most Ap/Bp stars which show an underabundance in O, in HD 133880 this element is clearly overabundant compared to the solar abundance ratio.

In studying the Hα and Paschen lines in the optical spectra, we could not unambiguously detect information about the magnetosphere of HD 133880. However, radio emission data at both 3 and 6 cm suggest that the magnetospheric plasma is held in rigid rotation with the star by the magnetic field and further supported against collapse by the rapid rotation. Subtle differences in the shapes of the optically thick radio light curves at 3 and 6 cm suggest that the large-scale magnetic field is not fully axisymmetric at large distances from the star.