A Chandra Grating Observation of the Dusty Wolf-Rayet Star WR48a

Svetozar A. Zhekov, Marc Gagne and Stephen L. Skinner

Space Research and Technology Institute, Sofia, Bulgaria; Department of Geology and Astronomy, West Chester University, West Chester, Pennsylvania, USA; CASA, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA

We present results of a Chandra High Energy Transmission Grating (HETG) observation of the carbon-rich Wolf-Rayet (WR) star WR48a. These are the first high-resolution spectra of this object in X-rays. Blue-shifted centroids of the spectral lines of about -360 km/s and line widths of 1000 - 1500 km/s (FWHM) were deduced from the analysis of the line profiles of strong emission lines. The forbidden line of Si XIII is strong and not suppressed, indicating that the rarefied 10-30 MK plasma forms far from strong sources of far-UV emission, most likely in a wind collision zone. Global spectral modeling showed that the X-ray spectrum of WR48a suffered higher absorption in the October 2012 Chandra observation compared to a previous January 2008 XMM-Newton observation. The emission measure of the hot plasma in WR48a decreased by a factor ~ 3 over the same period of time. The most likely physical picture that emerges from the analysis of the available X-ray data is that of colliding stellar winds in a wide binary system with an elliptical orbit. We propose that the unseen secondary star in the system is another WR star or perhaps a luminous blue variable.

Reference: The Astrophysical Journal
Status: Manuscript has been accepted

Weblink: http://arxiv.org/abs/1402.1280


Email: zhekovs@jila.colorado.edu