Simultaneous X-ray and optical spectroscopy of the Oef supergiant lambda Cep

G. Rauw$^1$, A. Herve$^2$, Y. Naze$^1$, J.N. Gonzalez-Perez$^3$, A. Hempelmann$^3$, M. Mittag$^3$, J.H.M.M. Schmitt$^3$, K.-P. Schroeder$^4$, E. Gosset$^1$, P. Eenens$^4$, J.M. Uuh-Sonda$^4$

1 - University of Liege, Belgium; 2 - University of Montpellier, France; 3 - Hamburger Sternwarte, Germany; 4 - University of Guanajuato, Mexico

Probing the structures of stellar winds is of prime importance for the understanding of massive stars. Based on their optical spectral morphology and variability, the stars of the Oef class have been suggested to feature large-scale structures in their wind. High-resolution X-ray spectroscopy and time-series of X-ray observations of presumably-single O-type stars can help us understand the physics of their stellar winds. We have collected XMM-Newton observations and coordinated optical spectroscopy of the O6Ief star lambda Cep to study its X-ray and optical variability and to analyse its high-resolution X-ray spectrum. We investigate the line profile variability of the He II 4686 and H-alpha emission lines in our time series of optical spectra, including a search for periodicities. We further discuss the variability of the broadband X-ray flux and analyse the high-resolution spectrum of lambda Cep using line-by-line fits as well as a code designed to fit the full high-resolution X-ray spectrum consistently. During our observing campaign, the He II lambda 4686 line varies on a timescale of ~18 hours. On the contrary, the H-alpha line profile displays a modulation on a timescale of 4.1 days which is likely the rotation period of the star. The X-ray flux varies on time-scales of days and could in fact be modulated by the same 4.1 days period as H-alpha, although both variations are shifted in phase. The high-resolution X-ray spectrum reveals broad and skewed emission lines as expected for the X-ray emission from a distribution of wind-embedded shocks. Most of the X-ray emission arises within less than 2 R* above the photosphere.

Reference: Astronomy & Astrophysics, in press
Status: Manuscript has been accepted