Transport of angular momentum by stochastically excited waves as an explanation for the outburst of the rapidly rotating Be star HD49330

C. Neiner, U. Lee, S. Mathis, H. Saio, C. C. Lovekin, K. C. Augustson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Context. HD 49330 is an early Be star that underwent an outburst during its five-month observation with the CoRoT satellite. An analysis of its light curve revealed several independent p and g pulsation modes, in addition to showing that the amplitude of the modes is directly correlated with the outburst. Aims. We modelled the results obtained with CoRoT to understand the link between pulsational parameters and the outburst of this Be star. Methods. We modelled the flattening of the structure of the star due to rapid rotation in two ways: Chandrasekhar-Milne's expansion and 2D structure computed with ROTORC. We then modelled κ-driven pulsations. We also adapted the formalism of the excitation and amplitude of stochastically excited gravito-inertial modes to rapidly rotating stars, and we modelled those pulsations as well. Results. We find that while pulsation p modes are indeed excited by the κ mechanism, the observed g modes are, rather, a result of stochastic excitation. In contrast, g and r waves are stochastically excited in the convective core and transport angular momentum to the surface, increasing its rotation rate. This destabilises the external layers of the star, which then emits transient stochastically excited g waves. These transient waves produce most of the low-frequency signal detected in the CoRoT data and ignite the outburst. During this unstable phase, p modes disappear at the surface because their cavity is broken. Following the outburst and ejection of the surface layer, relaxation occurs, making the transient g waves disappear and p modes reappear. Conclusions. This work includes the first coherent model of stochastically excited gravito-inertial pulsation modes in a rapidly rotating Be star. It provides an explanation for the correlation between the variation in the amplitude of frequencies detected in the CoRoT data and the occurrence of an outburst. This scenario could apply to other pulsating Be stars, providing an explanation to the long-standing questions surrounding Be outbursts and disks.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberA9
JournalAstronomy and Astrophysics
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Dec 1


  • Stars: emission-line, Be
  • Stars: individual: HD49330
  • Stars: oscillations
  • Stars: rotation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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