Context. Some classical T Tauri stars, with intense line and continuous excess emission, show extremely complex spectral variations. Aims. We aim to map and interpret the spectral variations in one such extreme T Tauri star, namely RU Lupi, and to explore how the changes are related to stellar brightness and rotational phase.
Methods. We followed the star over three observing runs, each covering a few days, collecting high-resolution optical spectra. In connection to the third run, complementary NIR spectra, multicolour photometric data, and X-ray observations were obtained.
Results. The stellar photospheric absorption line spectrum is weakened by superimposed emission, and this veiling becomes extremely high on occasion. Interpreted as a variable continuous excess emission, its contribution would amount to several times the stellar continuum brightness. However, the stellar brightness does not change much when the veiling changes, and we conclude that the veiling is dominated by narrow line emission that fills in the photospheric lines. Continuous emission, originating at the hot spot on the stellar surface, plays a dominant role only at lower degrees of veiling. The radial velocity of narrow emission components in lines of He I vary periodically in anti-phase with the stellar velocity, reflecting the location and motion of the accretion footprint. The blue-shifted wings in He I, related to a stellar wind, are remarkably stable in equivalent width. This implies that the line flux responds directly to changes in the veiling, which in turn is related to the accretion rate close to the star. In contrast, the equivalent widths of the red-shifted wings change with rotational phase. From the pattern of variability we infer that these wings originate in accreting gas close to the star, and that the accretion funnels are bent and trail the hot spot. The profiles of the forbidden lines of [O I] and [S II] are very stable in strength and shape over the entire observing period, and like a system of narrow, blue-shifted absorption features seen in lines of Ca II and Na I, they originate at larger distances from the star in the disk wind. Slightly blue-shifted emission components are present in the forbidden lines and might be related to a wide angle molecular disk wind proposed by others.
2013. Vol. 560, A57- p.