European Southern Observatory, Casilla 19001, Santiago 19, Chile
2 University of Potsdam, Am Neuen Palais 10, D-14469 Potsdam, Germany
3 Department of Astronomy, University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario N6A 3K7, Canada
4 Astronomical Institute, Utrecht University, Princetonplein 5, P.O. Box 80000, NL-3508 TA Utrecht, The Netherlands
5 Institut d'Astrophysique, Université de Liège, avenue de Cointe 5, B-4000 Liège, Belgium
Send offprint request to: G. Mathys
Accepted: 9 September 1996
We present new measurements of the mean magnetic field modulus of a sample of Ap stars with spectral lines resolved into magnetically split components. We report the discovery of 16 new stars having this property. This brings the total number of such stars known to 42. We have performed more than 750 measurements of the mean field modulus of 40 of these 42 stars, between May 1988 and August 1995. The best of them have an estimated accuracy of . The availability of such a large number of measurements allows us to discuss for the first time the distribution of the field modulus intensities. A most intriguing result is the apparent existence of a sharp cutoff at the low end of this distribution, since no star with a field modulus (averaged over the rotation period) smaller than 2.8 kG has been found in this study. For more than one third of the studied stars, enough field determinations well distributed throughout the stellar rotation cycle have been achieved to allow us to characterize at least to some extent the variations of the field modulus. These variations are often significantly anharmonic, and it is not unusual for their extrema not to coincide in phase with the extrema of the longitudinal field (for the few stars for which enough data exist about the latter). This, together with considerations on the distribution of the relative amplitude of variation of the studied stars, supports the recently emerging evidence for markedly non-dipolar geometry and fine structure of the magnetic fields of most Ap stars. New or improved determinations of the rotation periods of 9 Ap stars have been achieved from the analysis of the variations of their mean magnetic field modulus. Tentative values of the period have been derived for 5 additional stars, and lower limits have been established for 10 stars. The shortest definite rotation period of an Ap star with magnetically resolved lines is 34, while those stars that rotate slowest appear to have periods in excess of 70 or 75 years. As a result of this study, the number of known Ap stars with rotation periods longer than 30 days is almost doubled. We briefly rediscuss the slow-rotation tail of the period distribution of Ap stars. This study also yielded the discovery of radial velocity variations in 8 stars. There seems to be a deficiency of binaries with short orbital periods among Ap stars with magnetically resolved lines.
Key words: stars: chemically peculiar / stars: magnetic fields / stars: rotation
Based on observations collected at the European South ern Obser vatory (La Silla, Chile; ESO programmes Nos. 43.7-004, 44.7-012, 49.7-030, 50.7-067, 51.7-041, 52.7-063, 53.7-028, 54.E-0416, and 55.E-0751), at the Obser va toire de Haute-Pro ven ce (Saint-Michel-l'Obser va toire, France), at Kitt Peak National Observatory, and at the Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope.
Tables 2, 3, and 4 are also available in electronic form at the CDS via anonymous ftp to cdsarc.u-strasbg.fr (220.127.116.11) or via http://cdsweb.u-strasbg.fr/Abstract.html
© European Southern Observatory (ESO), 1997