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Paper: The Polarization of Achernar
Volume: 337, The Nature and Evolution of Disks Around Hot Stars
Page: 265
Authors: McDavid, D.
Abstract: Recent near-infrared measurements of the angular diameter of Achernar (the bright Be star alpha Eridani) with the ESO VLT interferometer have been interpreted as the detection of an extremely oblate photosphere, with a ratio of equatorial to polar radius of at least 1.56 ± 0.05 and a minor axis orientation of 39° ± 1° (from North to East). The optical linear polarization of this star during an emission phase in 1995 September was 0.12 ± 0.02% at position angle 37° ± 8° (in equatorial coordinates), which is the direction of the projection of the rotation axis on the plane of the sky according to the theory of polarization by electron scattering in an equatorially flattened circumstellar disk. These two independent determinations of the orientation of the rotation axis are therefore in agreement. The observational history of correlations between Hα emission and polarization as found in the literature is that of a typical Be star, with the exception of an interesting question raised by the contrast between Schröder's measurement of a small polarization perpendicular to the projected rotation axis in 1969-70 and Tinbergen's measurement of zero polarization in 1974.5, both at times when emission was reportedly absent.
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