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Wind variability of B supergiants

Prinja, R.K.; Massa, D.; Fullerton, A.W.; (2002) Wind variability of B supergiants. Astronomy and Astrophysics , 388 (2) pp. 587-608. 10.1051/0004-6361:20020503. Green open access

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We present the most suitable data sets available in the International Ultraviolet Explorer (IUE) archive for the study of time-dependent stellar winds in early B supergiants. The UV line profile variability in 11 B0 to B3 stars is analysed, compared and discussed, based on 16 separate data sets comprising over 600 homogeneously reduced high-resolution spectrograms. The targets include ``normal'' stars with moderate rotation rates and examples of rapid rotators. A gallery of grey-scale images (dynamic spectra) is presented, which demonstrates the richness and range of wind variability and highlights different structures in the winds of these stars. This work emphasises the suitability of B supergiants for wind studies, under-pinned by the fact that they exhibit unsaturated wind lines for a wide range of ionization. The wind activity of B supergiants is substantial and has highly varied characteristics. The variability evident in individual stars is classified and described in terms of discrete absorption components, spontaneous absorption, bowed structures, recurrence, and ionization variability and stratification. Similar structures can occur in stars of different fundamental parameters, but also different structures may occur in the same star at a given epoch. We discuss the physical phenomena that may be associated with the spectral signatures. The diversity of wind patterns evident likely reflects the role of stellar rotation and viewing angle in determining the observational characteristics of azimuthally extended structure rooted at the stellar surface. In addition, SEI line-synthesis modelling of the UV wind lines is used to provide further information about the state of the winds in our program stars. Typically the range, implied by the line profile variability, in the product of mass-loss rate and ion fraction (mdot q_i) is a factor of ~ 1.5, when integrated between 0.2 and 0.9 v_infty ; it can however be several times larger over localised velocity regions. At a given effective temperature the mean relative ion ratios can differ by a factor of 5. The general excess in predicted (forward-scattered) emission in the low velocity regime is discussed in terms of structured outflows. Mean ion fractions are estimated over the B0 to B1 spectral classes, and trends in the ionic ratios as a function of wind velocity are described. The low values obtained for the ion fractions of UV resonance lines may reflect the role of clumping in the wind.

Type: Article
Title: Wind variability of B supergiants
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1051/0004-6361:20020503
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1051/0004-6361:20020503
Language: English
Additional information: Published by EDP Sciences
Keywords: Stars: early-type, stars: mass-loss, ultraviolet: stars
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Maths and Physical Sciences > Dept of Physics and Astronomy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/9919
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