Infoscience

Journal article

A Disk Asymmetry in Motion Around the B[e] Star MWC158

Context. MWC158 is a star with the B[e] phenomenon that shows strong spectrophotometric variability (in lines and in UV and visible continuum) attributed to phases of shell ejection. The evolutionary stage of this star was never clearly determined. Previous interferometric, spectropolarimetric and spectro-interferometric studies suggest a disk morphology for its environment. Aims. We investigate the origin of the variability within the inner astronomical unit of the central star using near-infrared interferometric observations with PIONIER at the VLTI over a two-year period. Methods. We performed an image reconstruction of the circumstellar environment using the SPARCO method. We discovered that the morphology of the circumstellar environment could vary on timescales of weeks or days. We carried out a parametric fit of the data with a model consisting of a star, a disk and a bright spot that represents a brighter emission in the disk. Results. We detect strong morphological changes in the first astronomical unit around the star, that happen on a timescale of few months. We cannot account for such variability well with a binary model. Our parametric model fits the data well and allows us to extract the location of the asymmetry for different epochs. Conclusions. For the first time, we detect a morphological variability in the environment of MWC158. This variability is reproduced by a model of a disk and a bright spot. The locations of the bright spot suggest that it is located in the disk, but its precise motion is not determined. The origin of the asymmetry in the disk is complex and may be related to asymmetric shell ejections.

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