Diagnosing small- and large-scale structure in the winds of hot, massive OB-stars

J.O. Sundqvist(1), and S.P. Owocki(1)

1. University of Delaware, USA

It is observationally as well as theoretically well established that the winds of hot, massive OB-stars are highly structured on a broad range of spatial scales. This paper first discusses consequences of the small-scale structures associated with the strong instability inherent to the line-driving of these winds. We demonstrate the importance of a proper treatment of such wind clumping to obtain reliable estimates of mass-loss rates, and also show that instability simulations that are perturbed at the lower boundary indeed display significant clumping quite close to the wind base, in general agreement with observations.
But a growing subset of massive stars has also been found to possess strong surface magnetic fields, which may channel the star's outflow and induce also large-scale wind structures and cyclic behavior of spectral diagnostics. The paper concludes by showing that multi-dimensional, magneto-hydrodynamical wind simulations, together with detailed radiative-transfer modeling, can reproduce remarkably well the periodic Balmer line emission observed in slowly rotating magnetic O stars like HD191612.

Reference: To appear in the proceedings of "Circumstellar Dynamics at High Resolution", Foz do Iguacu, Feb. 2012. Available at astro-ph.
Status: Conference proceedings

Weblink: http://arxiv.org/abs/1205.3190


Email: jon@bartol.udel.edu