3-D radiative transfer in clumped hot star winds I. Influence of clumping on the resonance line formation

Brankica Surlan, Wolf-Rainer Hamann, Jiri Kubat, Lidia M. Oskinova, Achim Feldmeier

The true mass-loss rates from massive stars are important for many branches of astrophysics. For the correct modeling of the resonance lines, which are among the key diagnostics of stellar mass-loss, the stellar wind clumping turned out to be very important. In order to incorporate clumping into radiative transfer calculation, 3-D models are required. Various properties of the clumps may have strong impact on the resonance line formation and, therefore, on the determination of empirical mass-loss rates. We incorporate the 3-D nature of the stellar wind clumping into radiative transfer calculations and investigate how different model parameters influence the resonance line formation. We develop a full 3-D Monte Carlo radiative transfer code for inhomogeneous expanding stellar winds. The number density of clumps follows the mass conservation. For the first time, realistic 3-D models that describe the dense as well as the tenuous wind components are used to model the formation of resonance lines in a clumped stellar wind. At the same time, non-monotonic velocity fields are accounted for. The 3-D density and velocity wind inhomogeneities show very strong impact on the resonance line formation. The different parameters describing the clumping and the velocity field results in different line strengths and profiles. We present a set of representative models for various sets of model parameters and investigate how the resonance lines are affected. Our 3-D models show that the line opacity is reduced for larger clump separation and for more shallow velocity gradients within the clumps. Our new model demonstrates that to obtain empirically correct mass-loss rates from the UV resonance lines, the wind clumping and its 3-D nature must be taken into account.

Fetch Pdf-File (surlan-aa-2012.pdf, 1.4MB)

Back to publication list