A Bake-Off Between CMFGEN and FASTIND: Modeling the Physical Properties of SMC and LMC O-type Stars

Philip Massey (1), Kathryn F. Neugent (1), D. John Hillier (2), and Joachim Puls (3)

(1) Lowell Observatory, (2) Dept of Astronomy, University of Pittsburgh, (3) Universitatssternwarte Munchen

The model atmosphere programs FASTWIND and CMFGEN are both elegantly designed to perform non-LTE analyses of the spectra of hot massive stars, and include sphericity and mass-loss. The two codes differ primarily in their approach towards line blanketing, with CMFGEN treating all of the lines in the co-moving frame and FASTWIND taking an approximate approach which speeds up execution times considerably. Although both have been extensively used to model the spectra of O-type stars, no studies have used the codes to independently model the same spectra of the same stars and compare the derived physical properties. We perform this task on ten O-type stars in the Magellanic Clouds. For the late-type O supergiants, both CMFGEN and FASTWIND have trouble fitting some of the He I lines, and we discuss causes and cures. We find that there is no difference in the average effective temperatures found by the two codes for the stars in our sample, although the dispersion is large, due primarily to the various difficulties each code has with He I. The surface gravities determined using FASTWIND are systematically lower by 0.12~dex compared to CMFGEN, a result we attribute to the better treatment of electron scattering by CMFGEN. This has implications for the interpretation of the origin of the so-called mass discrepancy, as the masses derived by FASTWIND are on average lower than inferred from stellar evolutionary models, while those found by CMFGEN are in better agreement.

Reference: Astrophysical Journal, in press
Status: Manuscript has been accepted

Weblink: http://arxiv.org/abs/1303.5469


Email: phil.massey@lowell.edu