The roAp star α Circinus as seen by BRITE-Constellation

W. W. Weiss, H. E. Fröhlich, A. Pigulski, A. Popowicz, D. Huber, Rainer Kuschnig, A. F.J. Moffat, J. M. Matthews, H. Saio, A. Schwarzenberg-Czerny, C. C. Grant, O. Koudelka, T. Lüftinger, S. M. Rucinski, G. A. Wade, J. Alves, M. Guedel, St Mochnacki, P. Orleanski, B. PabloA. Pamyatnykh, T. Ramiaramanantsoa, J. Rowe, G. Whittaker, T. Zawistowski, E. Zocłońska, K. Zwintz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We report on an analysis of high-precision, multi-colour photometric observations of the rapidly-oscillating Ap (roAp) star α Cir. These observations were obtained with the BRITE-Constellation, which is a coordinated mission of five nanosatellites that collects continuous millimagnitude-precision photometry of dozens of bright stars for up to 180 days at a time in two colours (∼ Johnson B and R). BRITE stands for BRight Target Explorer. The object α Cir is the brightest roAp star and an ideal target for such investigations, facilitating the determination of oscillation frequencies with high resolution. This star is bright enough for complementary interferometry and time-resolved spectroscopy. Four BRITE satellites observed α Cir for146 d or 33 rotational cycles. Phasing the photometry according to the 4.4790 d rotational period reveals qualitatively different light variations in the two photometric bands. The phased red-band photometry is in good agreement with previously-published WIRE data, showing a light curve symmetric about phase 0.5 with a strong contribution from the first harmonic. The phased blue-lband data, in contrast, show an essentially sinusoidal variation. We model both light curves with Bayesian Photometric Imaging, which suggests the presence of two large-scale, photometrically bright (relative to the surrounding photosphere) spots. We also examine the high-frequency pulsation spectrum as encoded in the BRITE photometry. Our analysis establishes the stability of the main pulsation frequency over the last ? 20 yr, confirms the presence of frequency f7, which was not detected (or the mode not excited) prior to 2006, and excludes quadrupolar modes for the main pulsation frequency.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA54
JournalAstronomy & Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016


  • Asteroseismology
  • Stars: chemically peculiar
  • Stars: individual:αCir
  • Stars: oscillations
  • Stars: rotation
  • Starspots

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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