The effects of inclination, gravity darkening and differential rotation on absorption profiles of fast rotators
Mechanisms influencing absorption line profiles of fast rotating stars can be sorted into two groups; (i) intrinsic variations sensitive to temperature and pressure, and (ii) global effects common to all spectral lines. I present a detailed study on the latter effects focusing on gravity darkening and inclination for various rotational velocities and spectral types. It is shown that the line shapes of rapidly and rigidly rotating stars mainly depend on the equatorial velocity ve, not on the projected rotational velocity v sin i which determines the lines' widths. The influence of gravity darkening and spectral type on the line profiles is shown. The results demonstrate the possibility of determining the inclination angle i of single fast rotators, and they show that constraints on gravity darkening can be drawn for stellar samples. While significant line profile deformation occurs in stars rotating as fast as ve >~ 200 km s-1, for slower rotators profile distortions are marginal. In these cases spectral signatures induced by, e.g., differential rotation are not affected by gravity darkening and the methods applicable to slow rotators can be applied to these faster rotators, too.