eps Aur abstract: Leadbeater et al.

High Cadence Measurement of Neutral Sodium and Potassium Absorption During the 2009–2011 Eclipse of epsilon Aurigae


Robin Leadbeater

Three Hills Observatory, The Birches, CA7 1JF, UK

Christian Buil

Castanet Tolosan Observatory, 6 Place Clemence Isaure, 31320 Castanet Tolosan, France

Thierry Garrel

Observatoire de Foncaude, Juvignac, France

Stanley A. Gorodenski

9440 E. Newtown Avenue, Dewey, AZ 86327

Torsten Hansen

Reichau 216 D-87737, Boos, Germany

Lothar Schanne

Observatory for Stellar Spectroscopy Völklingen, Hohlstrasse 19, 66333, Völklingen, Germany

Robert E. Stencel

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Denver, 2112 East Wesley Avenue, Denver, CO 80208

Berthold Stober

Nelkenweg 14, 66791 Glan-Münchweiler, Germany

Olivier Thizy

Shelyak Instruments, Les Roussets, 38420 Revel, France

Received May 14, 2012; revised July 10, 2012; accepted July 10, 2012


The results of a spectroscopic survey of epsilon Aurigae during eclipse using a network of small telescopes are presented. The spectra have a resolution of 0.35 to 0.65Å and cover the period 2008 to 2012 with a typical interval of four days during eclipse. This paper specifically covers variations in the KI 7699Å, Na D and Mg II 4481Å lines. Absorption started increasing in the KI 7699Å line three months before the eclipse began in optical photometry and had not returned to pre-eclipse levels by the end of the survey March 2012, seven months after the broadband brightness had returned to normal outside eclipse levels. The contribution of the eclipsing object to the KI 7699Å line has been isolated and shows the excess absorption increasing and decreasing in a series of steps during eclipse ingress and egress. This is interpreted as an indication of structure within the eclipsing object. The F star is totally obscured by the eclipsing object at the Na D wavelength during eclipse. The radial velocity of the F star and the mean and maximum radial velocity of the eclipsing material in front of the F star at any given time have been isolated and tracked throughout the eclipse. The quasi-periodic variations seen in the F star RV outside eclipse continued during the eclipse. It is hoped that these results can be used to constrain proposed models of the system and its components.