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Date: 14 Mar 2012

Interferometric observations of rapidly rotating stars

Abstract

Optical interferometry provides us with a unique opportunity to improve our understanding of stellar structure and evolution. Through direct observation of rotationally distorted photospheres at sub-milliarcsecond scales, we are now able to characterize latitude dependencies of stellar radius, temperature structure, and even energy transport. These detailed new views of stars are leading to revised thinking in a broad array of associated topics, such as spectroscopy, stellar evolution, and exoplanet detection. As newly advanced techniques and instrumentation mature, this topic in astronomy is poised to greatly expand in depth and influence.

Portions of this manuscript were prepared while in residence at European Southern Observatory Karl-Schwarzschild-Str. 2, 85748 Garching, Germany.