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Paper: Do Herbig Ae/Be Stars Have Discs?
Volume: 287, Galactic Star Formation Across the Stellar Mass Spectrum
Page: 319
Authors: Vink, J. S.; Drew, J. E.; Harries, T. J.; Oudmaijer, R. D.
Abstract: Hα spectropolarimetry on Herbig Ae/Be stars shows that the innermost regions of intermediate mass (2 -- 15 M) pre-main sequence stars are flattened. This may be the best evidence to date that the higher mass Herbig Be stars are embedded in circumstellar discs. A second outcome of our study is that the spectropolarimetric signatures for the lower mass Herbig Ae stars differ from those of the higher mass Herbig Be stars. Depolarisations across Hα are observed in the Herbig Be group, whereas line polarisations are common amongst the Herbig Ae stars in our sample. These line polarisation effects can be understood in terms of a compact Hα source that is polarised by a rotating disc-like configuration. The difference we detect between the Herbig Be and Ae stars may be the first indication that there is a transition in the Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram from magnetic accretion at spectral type A to disc accretion at spectral type B. However, it is also possible that the compact polarised line component, present in the Herbig Ae stars, is masked in the Herbig Be stars due to their higher levels of Hα emission.
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