Eclipses and dust formation by WC9 type Wolf-Rayet stars

P. M. Williams

Institute for Astronomy, Royal Observatory, Edinburgh, United Kingdom

Visual photometry of 16 WC8-9 dust-making Wolf-Rayet (WR) stars during 2001--2009 was extracted from the All Sky Automated Survey All Star Catalogue (ASAS-3) to search for eclipses attributable to extinction by dust formed in clumps in our line of sight. Data for a comparable number of dust-free WC6-9 stars were also examined to help characterise the dataset. Frequent eclipses were observed from WR 104, and several from WR 106, extending the 1994-2001 studies by Kato et al. (2002a,b), but not supporting their phasing the variations in WR 104 with its `pinwheel' rotation period. Only four other stars showed eclipses, WR 50 (one of the dust-free stars), WR 69, WR 95 and WR 117, and there may have been an eclipse by WR 121, which had shown two eclipses in the past. No dust eclipses were shown by the `historic' eclipsers WR 103 and WR 113. The atmospheric eclipses of the latter were observed but the suggestion by David-Uraz et al. (2012) that dust may be partly responsible for these is not supported. Despite its frequent eclipses, there is no evidence in the infrared images of WR 104 for dust made in its eclipses, demonstrating that any dust formed in this process is not a significant contributor to its circumstellar dust cloud and suggesting that the same applies to the other stars showing fewer eclipses.

Reference: MNRAS (in Press)
Status: Manuscript has been accepted