Context. Oblique magnetic dipole fields have been detected in Bp stars for several decades, and more recently also in normal massive stars. In the past decade, it has been established that stellar magnetospheres form through the channelling and confinement of an outflowing stellar wind by the stellar magnetic field. This explains specific properties of magnetic massive stars, such as their rotationally modulated photometric light curve, H alpha emission, UV spectra, and X-ray emission. Aims. In the framework of the MiMeS (Magnetism in Massive Stars) project, four HARPSpol observations of the magnetic Bp star HD96446 have been obtained. HD96446 is very similar to sigma Ori E, the prototype of centrifugally supported rigidly rotating magnetospheres (CM) and is therefore a perfect target to study the validity of this model. Methods. We first updated the basic parameters of HD96446 and studied its spectral variability. We then analysed the HARPSpol spectropolarimetric observations using the LSD (Least-Squares Deconvolution) technique to derive the longitudinal magnetic field and Zeeman signatures in various types of lines. With LTE spectrum modelling, we derived constraints on the field modulus, the rotational velocity, and the inclination angle, and measured non-solar abundances of several elements which we checked with NLTE modelling. Finally, we calculated the magnetic confinement and Alfven and Kepler radii from the stellar magnetic field and rotation properties, and we examined the various types of magnetospheres that may be present around HD96446. Results. We find radial velocity variations with a period around 2.23 h, that we attribute to beta Cep-type p-mode pulsations. We detect clear direct magnetic Stokes V signatures with slightly varying values of the longitudinal magnetic field, typical of an oblique dipole rotator, and show that these signatures are not much perturbed by the radial velocity variations. The magnetic confinement parameter and Alfven radius in the centrifugally supported, rigidly-rotating magnetosphere (CM) model points towards the presence of confined material in the magnetosphere. However, HD96446 does not present signatures of the presence of such confined material, such as H alpha emission. Conclusions. We conclude that, even though HD96446 fulfills all criteria to host a CM with confined material, it does not. The rotation period must be significantly revised, or another model of magnetosphere with a leakage mechanism will need to be developed to explain the magnetic environment of this star.
2012. Vol. 546, A44- p.
stars: magnetic field, stars: early-type, stars: individual: HD 96446, stars: fundamental parameters, stars: abundances, stars: winds, outflows