Modeling Ultraviolet Wind Line Variability in Massive Hot Stars

A. Lobel & R. Blomme

Royal Observatory of Belgium

We model the detailed time-evolution of Discrete Absorption Components (DACs) observed in P Cygni profiles of the Si~{sc{iv}} $lambda$1400 resonance doublet lines of the fast-rotating supergiant HD~64760 (B0.5 Ib). We adopt the common assumption that the DACs are caused by Co-rotating Interaction Regions (CIRs) in the stellar wind. We perform 3D radiative transfer calculations with hydrodynamic models of the stellar wind that incorporate
these large-scale density- and velocity-structures. We develop the 3D transfer code {sc Wind3D} to investigate the physical properties of CIRs with detailed fits to the DAC shape and morphology.

The CIRs are caused by irregularities on the stellar surface that change the radiative force in the stellar wind. In our hydrodynamic model we approximate these irregularities by circular symmetric spots on the stellar surface. We use the {sc Zeus3D} code to model the stellar wind and the CIRs,
limited to the equatorial plane. We compute a large grid of hydrodynamic models and dynamic spectra for the different spot parameters (brightness, opening angle and velocity). We demonstrate important effects of these input parameters on the structured wind models that determine the detailed DAC evolution.

We constrain the properties of large-scale wind structures with detailed fits to DACs observed in HD~64760. A model with two spots of unequal brightness and size on opposite sides of the equator, with opening angles of
20$degr$ $pm$5$degr$~and 30$degr$ $pm$5$degr$~diameter, and that are 20$pm$5% and 8$pm$5% brighter than the stellar surface, respectively, provides the best fit to the observed DACs. The recurrence time of the DACs compared to the estimated rotational period corresponds to spot velocities that are 5 times slower than the rotational velocity.

The mass-loss rate of the structured wind model for HD~64760 does not exceed the rate of the spherically symmetric smooth wind model by more than 1%. The fact that DACs are observed in a large number of hot stars constrains the clumping that can be present in their winds, as substantial amounts of clumping would tend to destroy the CIRs.

Reference: ApJ, 667 Main Journal (in press).
Status: Manuscript has been accepted


Comments: 23 pages, 16 color figures, & 1 animation.
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